Blending in

Friday 06 Jan 2012

A building placed unobtrusively in the landscape and blending with the surroundings

Completed in July 2011, the residence is situated on Monaghan Farm, a working farm developed with emphasis on organic agriculture and sustainable living.

The clients were specific about their requirements: A contemporary design. The residence had to refer to local residential architecture of the mid-20th century, in turn influenced by the Case Study Houses of the 1950's; - the design had to integrate the views of the landscape and the surrounding open spaces without sacrificing privacy; the design has to incorporate principles of sustainability.

The residence has an H-shaped plan configuration and is centered around a courtyard oriented towards the mountains to the east and north. The design is based on a 1000mm x 900mm planning grid, and all building elements are arranged accordingly. A hierarchy of views of the surrounding landscape are framed throughout the residence - a prominent element in each space. A lane of prominent eucalyptus trees to the south is visible through the clerestory windows running uninterrupted through both wings.

The client is the owner of an art gallery, and required wall space for small to large artworks from their collection, without sacrificing views of the landscape. This was achieved by alternating ceiling high planes of brickwork and glass retaining the relationship to the exterior and simultaneously providing for gallery space.

The building material was selected for simplicity and local availability as far as possible. Dominant materials are hand-quarried raw slate flooring (crazy paving), painted face brick walls, and painted timber beams. No differentiation was made between interior and exterior finishes across the weather lines.

The objective was to design a building placed unobtrusively in the landscape and blending with the surroundings - a reductive design that does not draw attention, a simple but modern building of brickwork, glass, timber and aluminum.

Key Facts:

South Africa

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