Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
29 - 29
The house is located in a high-density residential estate, and positioned on a narrow north-facing stand measuring only 24m x 19m. With a moderate northern slope, one of the design challenges was to minimize the footprint of the building, in order to create maximum outdoor living space to the north. The building was therefor positioned as close to the street as possible.
Conceptually the house is divided into two blocks. A ground floor block which is slightly elevated from the street level, and a lower ground floor block which connects to the landscaped garden. Accessing the stand from the south, visitors arrive at street level, and are then guided by a ramp from the entrance up to the front door.
The smaller footprint of the lower block creates a plinth for the oversized upper block to rest on. The tension between these elements is further emphasized by the offset of materials creating a shadow line between the upper and lower levels.
The client requested a modest 3-bedroom contemporary ‘upside down’ house with views on the first floor overlooking the city in the distance. The house is therefor divided into two levels; the family room, bedrooms, and bathrooms are on the lower ground floor and the ground floor is reserved for the open plan living spaces. The temperate climate of the region allows the building to have large glass sliding doors that open respectively onto a covered patio and balcony on the ground floor level, and on the lower ground level, establishing a strong relationship between the interior spaces and the landscaped garden. The doors of the north-facing living spaces allow for maximum cross-ventilation, lowering the temperature of the interior space in the summer months. Each north-facing bedroom has large doors opening onto the garden and sheltered from the sun with broad roof overhangs.
Various cool to warm shades of architectural grey paint colours and off-shutter concrete soffits and walls are balanced with warm red bricks and timber surfaces in both vertical and horizontal applications. Forming part of the green brief, the client requested the house to be fitted with a photovoltaic system with back-up batteries, enabling independent power supply and operates 100% off-grid. Rainwater collection tanks are installed and gathers rainwater from the roof, and then utilized to irrigate the garden.
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470, Pienaar Street, Pretoria, South Africa
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