A new house in the South African Highveld landscape outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. The site for the house consists of a collection of diverse environments: an oak forest, open meadows and poplar groves, a river, lake and weir, a white stinkwood forest, a koppie environment and open veld.
The brief referred to ‘integration with the Landscape’. An elevated site was chosen, allowing long views to the distant hills, where the white Stinkwood Forest meets the open veld.
The house is conceived as a series of pavilions arranged between two planes – the floor and the roof. The planes are located in the forest, at the edge of the veld, and elevated above natural ground by a ‘random measured’ forest of skew columns – abstract tree trunks. The columns support a grid, about which the planning and layout of the pavilions and their functions is ordered.
Enclosure is transparent and shaded terraces project into the forest and over the veld. The landscape and the building overlap.
The structure of the building relies on a steel frame, clad in part by timber, and fixed to scattered concrete bases.
EXTRACT FROM THE GAUTENG INSTITUTE FOR ARCHITECTURE (GIFA) REGIONAL AWARDS 2009: CITATION NOTES
“Located on a relatively remote and expansive estate, this site touches the indigenous landscape very lightly. The plan, essentially a platform on stilts that fans out to embrace existing flora, achieves minimum site disturbance and brings interior in close dialogue with exterior. The tilted steel columns (with timber veneer) and the all-glass cladding create an aesthetic that simultaneously blends with the environment while refreshingly contrasting it. In both plan and section, the house harmonises with its context. The detailing of the exterior and the interior are exquisite."