Upper Albert


Positioned at the foot of Table Mountain overlooking the City Bowl, the large plot on a steep site allowed the architect to subdivide the property and develop both their family home as well as two separate rental units on the land that was previously occupied by a single residential unit.

Expressed as an elevated building, the generous proportioned linear form is arranged over four levels. The lower levels form a podium that raises the pavilion of the upper two levels up to maximize the view and connects the interior to outdoor terraces. A landscaped roof creates a ‘garden in the sky’.

For architects, it is at times easier to push boundaries and take creative risks in their own projects than for clients and this project is doing just that. It offers the architect the opportunity to follow an experimental approach to the making of their home.

The brutalist expression of construction and form on both the exterior and interior is rich in colour and texture. Distinctive pigmented cast concrete screens on the façade – for sun shading and privacy – reference terracotta breeze blocks that are remnant of the former house on the plot. Off shutter concrete walls are rendered in the same pigmented red and externally juxtaposed with grey rough stippled plaster and flush timber paneling on the interior. The vertical grid of the façade screens is echoed in pattern and scale but used horizontally in suspended timber ceilings and pergolas. A sleek white solid steel balustrade wraps up through the core circulation volume and provides respite from the vibrant polished concrete floor. The detailed interior is attractive and luxurious and gives the residence a distinct identity.

Thresholds between inside and outside lead to lush green courtyards and terraces with expansive views. The pleasure taken in the architectural experimentation is palpable.

Architects: SAOTA

Project Team:Riaz Ebrahim, Anthony Whittaker, Michelle Mills, Casey Hunter

Interior Designer: ARRCC

Structural Engineers:Moroff & Kühne Consulting Engineers

Quantity Surveyor:Meyer Summersgill

Main Contractor:Red Sky Projects

Light Consultant:Martin Doller Design

Landscaping:Reto Mani Garden Services

Project Photographer:Adam Letch