The site for this dwelling is situated high up on the slopes of the Tygerberg bordering the Tygerberg Nature reserve with magnificent views of the Hottentots Holland mountains over a vast suburban landscape. The building is set within the renosterveld as a thin box-like element resting lightly on a spine wall cutting across the site. A series of subtle retaining walls is employed to make the first mark in the landscape to create a series of planted courtyards that will tame the wilderness between the dwelling and the renosterveld.

The design called for a family home that will respond to the complexities of the site whilst affording its inhabitants a direct relationship with its surround by integrating a series of sheltered courtyards to provide privacy and protection against the elements, yet allowing uninterrupted distant views of both the plains of renosterveld and raised horizon to the south west, as well as the suburban landscape and distant mountain views to the east.

The conceptual approach for the dwelling explores the house as a “stoep” where its inhabitants is constantly reminded and exposed to its siting and integration with nature. The linear plan form allows for all rooms and circulation routes to benefit from the magnificent setting whilst preserving the natural environment. A series of design criteria has been adopted to ensure that the scar on the landscape will be reduced and that the building will actively participate in the preservation of our natural environment and resources.

All natural shrubs affected during the building process will be preserved and reinstated thereafter. The entire roofscape of the dwelling will be planted with Festuca Glauca for heat insulation, to reduce hard landscaping and water run-off and to blend the fifth elevation with the landscape as perceived by hikers from the reserve. The roof overhang and hill providing sun screening to the west a layer of purpose made sliding louvers will be employed to all external apertures to the east to act as an ecological filter, security threshold and social filter. All water runoff and grey water will be collected in subterranean tanks and re-used for maintaining the natural growth.

The items as listed above are but a few of the green principles that will be employed to underline the symbiosis of this project with its natural environment and its inhabitant’s wish to preserve the site.