Situated on the temperate Western Cape in South Africa and facing the Indian Ocean, the site in Plettenberg Bay is essentially suburban but is also surrounded by expansive beach and nature trails in protected reserves.
The house is positioned on a small plot (c. ½ acre), on steep sand dunes densely covered with protected indigenous shrubs.
The site itself is surrounded by similar small plots each vying for uninterrupted views towards the ocean and the Robberg peninsula.
The brief was to create a convivial holiday home for a couple with grown up children. It was important to have the sense that this was an isolated location with its own expansive outlook onto the ocean.
Influenced by the Japanese principle of borrowed scenery the building frames the distant views as seen from the immediate architectural composition.
From the street the house presents a blank façade, whilst from the coast the house is more porous at ground level, and at the upper level appears as a long box suspended above the shrub covered dunes.
The relationship between the interior and exterior environment is delineated by perimeter ‘outside’ rooms and sheltered spaces. The upper level is faced with eucalyptus stick panels that open on pivot hinges. This device maintains natural ventilation as well as providing privacy and sun screening. The use of this local timber acknowledges an indigenous, familiar material that is used in an innovative way.