The site for this dwelling is situated high up on the slopes of the Tygerberg in close proximity to the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, with magnificent views of the Hottentots Holland Mountains over the vast suburban landscape.

The design called for a family home that would respond to the complexities of the site whilst affording its inhabitants a direct relationship with its surroundings. This was achieved by integrating a series of sheltered courtyards to provide privacy and protection against the extreme wind conditions. The building arranges itself around a central court by means of a number of smaller pavilions to provide a sheltered environment. In addition, a layer of purpose-made sliding louvres has been utilised for all external apertures to act as an ecological filter and security threshold.

To the north-west, the entire dwelling opens up to a private garden and to the north-east a similar aperture allows access to the timber-decked central courtyard with focal fever tree. From here the eye is focussed on beautiful distant views etched over a raised plane of Festuca Glauca (wild grass) to mask views of undesirable suburban attempts.

The conceptual approach for the roof, strongly influenced by that of Glenn Murcutt's Marie Short House, has been developed to draw controlled north light into the living rooms and to create a sense of lightness over these areas. The living area is thereby expressed as a 'stoep' in lieu of creating an additional covered external living area.

The entire construction makes use of a limited palette of materials and the inhabitants are constantly reminded of the original act of gathering, as elements have been employed and exposed in their most basic form. The materiality is informed by the issues derived from the effect of weathering, not only as a physical deterioration of the built form, but also as an inverted process of our participation in our environment. Materials have been chosen to weather, streak and peel, thus revealing underlying layers.




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