The project location, a suburban security estate on the outskirts of Johannesburg provided the framework and context for the project. The house directly responds to its physical and climatic environment, with a private, enclosed courtyard garden providing shelter from the relentless visual onslaught of the Tuscan and faux farmyard buildings surrounding it.
The dwelling consists of two wings - one public and one private - connected by a vaulted brick entrance hall that encloses the building from the street. The public wing is a single large living space, with oversized sliding doors that allow the northern façade to be opened up completely towards the private garden. A drum-shaped nook punctuates the rigid geometry of the plan and creates an ideal ‘snug’, an intimate enclosure from the open living area, whilst maintaining a visual connection with the living space and garden. A small scullery is tucked away behind the kitchen in a wooden box, seamlessly integrated as part of the kitchen joinery. In the private wing, each bedroom opens out onto a small covered veranda.
The house and garden is arranged on one level throughout, apart from a brick tower leading off from the private wing. The tower was a request from the client who sought a space to retreat to where one can view the horizon.
In a nod to the South African tradition of the economic use of brick, the same face brick is used in different applications including the masonry walls, external paving and vaulted ceiling. The external monolithic brick volume is relieved and enlivened by different patterns and perforations in order to provide solar shading, privacy and compositional balance.
A restrained interior palette of natural materials, including green limestone, marble and timber provides a rich and inviting tactile experience in contrast with the monolithic brick exterior. The exposed timber roof structure touches the brick walls lightly with high level glazing in between the slender beams.