Pretoria, South Africa

The house is located in a high-density residential estate, and positioned on a narrow stand measuring only 12m in width. 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.


The concept of the street façade was that the smaller footprint of the ground floor creates a plinth for the oversized first floor to rest on. The tension between these solid blocks is further emphasized by the offset of materials creating a shadow line between these shapes. Making reference to the surrounding natural rocky outcrops, the rock cladded plinth forms one of the main features of the design. Accessing the stand from the south, visitors are guided by the cladded plinth to enter the house through a large glass front door facing the street. The entrance forms the top end of a north-south circulation spine, linking the entrance visually and spatially with the outdoor living space to the north. To accommodate the natural slope, the circulation spine is broken up into a series of various floor levels, creating terraced platforms for each open living space.


The client requested a modest 3 bedroom contemporary house with views on the first floor overlooking the city in the distance. The house is divided into two levels; the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the first floor and the ground floor is reserved for the living spaces. The temperate climate of the region allows the building to have large glass doors that open respectively onto a covered patio and terraced landscape, establishing a strong relationship between the interior spaces and the outdoor living space. These doors of the north-facing living spaces allow for maximum cross-ventilation, lowering the temperature of the interior space in the summer months. The north-facing main bedroom has large doors opening onto a patio and sheltered from the sun with broad roof overhangs.


Various cool to warm shades of architectural grey paint colours and off-shutter concrete soffits are balanced with warm timber surfaces in both vertical and horizontal applications. Forming part of the green brief, the hidden water collection tank, gathers rainwater from the roof, and is then utilized to irrigate the garden.



470, Pienaar Street, Pretoria, South Africa

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