This is a new house, but with a decidedly Mid-Century Modern feel ... in a kind of tropical oasis setting.
The home is located on a beautiful wooded riverside site in the Constantia Valley, Cape Town, South Africa. The site of the home was subdivided off a larger estate and was, originally, lawns and a tennis court on a gentle fall towards the stream.
The home is entirely surrounded by tall well-established trees which make it seem worlds away even though it lies in a suburban community. The site between house and stream was rehabilitated and the tennis court and lawns were removed, replaced with an indigenous garden, accessed by elevated timber boardwalks.
The clients wanted a simple, 3-bedroom, open plan house for themselves and occasional guests that focused on simplicity of lifestyle, ease of use, the pleasure of well-crafted natural materials and direct access to the natural surroundings. To that end, the green wall of trees surrounding the site were seen as the living perimeter of the house, with the roof expressed as a long continuous inclined plane falling with the slope of the site and becoming one with the tree canopy.
The single storey structure hugs the ground plane and has enormous walls of glass to establish contact with the outdoors; the busy street side is hidden behind a massive concrete wall, which is designed to reflect road noise away from the living areas.
The house is arranged parallel to the river on the south and opening up to the sun along the north. The living areas are closest to the rod, while the bedroom section is on the interior of the site. There are a series of courtyards and patios, each offering a different experience of site and different degrees of sun exposure and wind protection at different times of the year; the entrance court, a roughly square piazza- sized space, is bounded by massive concrete and stone elements, intended to establish an atmosphere of tranquility and silence as you enter the home.
The kitchen and dining room open entirely onto a covered braai patio—an open outdoor grill—and the lounge is bounded by two separate courtyards, one planted and one containing a long natural pond. The entire south façade is fronted by an extended timber patio that connects the interior and the garden.