A house of air and water

Nico van der Meulen Architects' private residence in Midrand is defined by a koi pond and a pool, wrapped in steel bars

by Sian 16 October 2012
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    Where do you begin when a private client comes to you with the request for an ‘iconic’ residence? The possibilities are endless. This was the brief presented to Werner van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects in Midrand, South Africa by a couple who wished to build their own home which would also double as the husband’s office.

    One half of the client couple desired burglar bars on the exterior of the home however this would go against estate restrictions so van der Meulen devised a spin on the concept with an abstract pattern of steel fronds which criss-cross across several of the exterior volumes. This dynamic pattern also encloses the balcony off the main bathroom on the north-east corner and protects the kitchen from the harsh morning sunlight.

    Other defining features of the house include an extensive koi (carp) pond and swimming pool around which the living areas are distributed. The main form of the house takes a simple rectangular shape, including a living room, dining room and family room.

    Frameless doors enhance fluidity between spaces, opening up the interior volumes and affording uninterrupted views to the outside. There are also a series of bridges which link the ‘pyjama lounge’ and children’s bedrooms with the main suite of rooms, and the front door to the core of the home.

    Steps between the dining room and hall towards the family room and kitchen have been formed from broken shards of granite, transformed into a cantilevered staircase with illuminated handrail.

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