Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre

Category                     Culture 
                      South Africa 
Peter Rich Architects, Johannesburg, South Africa 
                         World Architecture Festival 2009 – World Building of the Year

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre is sited at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers. The Mapungubwe National Park celebrates the site of an ancient civilization linked to the Great Zimbabwe trading culture in the context of a natural setting that re-establishes the indigenous fauna and flora of this region. The Interpretation Centre is set on the side of a mesa, formed from the dramatic geological events that resulted in the Limpopo River changing its course from flowing into the Atlantic Ocean to discharging into the Indian Ocean. The ceremonial centre of this civilization is located on a sister mesa, one kilometre away from the site, is the visual climax of the architectural experience orchestrated in the design of the Centre. This is a poverty relief project using ecological methods and materials.
Mapungubwe Interpretation Center by Peter Rich Architects
The complex landscape was both the inspiration for the design and the source of most of the materials for its construction. This resulted in a composition of structures that are authentically rooted to their location. The equilateral triangle provides the primary ordering, set out from a line running parallel to the contours. Secondary elements are fixed in position by this geometrical system, significant because of its reference to triangular motifs etched on stones uncovered on Mapungubwe Hill. The heart of the Interpretation centre is visually contained by two hollow cairns that evoke the route-markers found in Southern African cultures. Timbrel vaulting is used to construct the billowing forms that expose the arched edges of their thin shells, an analogy of the archaeological revelation of past cultures.
Mapungubwe Interpretation Center by Peter Rich Architects
The domical language is contrasted by the delicate walkways that create a zigzagging ramped route through the complex. The visitor’s first view, across a seasonal stream, is of the principal vaults springing directly from the land on robust buttresses. Volumes are linked by terraced seating, contrasting the structured horizontality of the contours with the diaphanous domes and arches. The surfacing of all of the masonry in local rubble stone creates a timeless quality. It is as if they had erupted from the earth in a geological event similar to that which created the mesas of the site and Mapungubwe Hill.
Mapungubwe Interpretation Center by Peter Rich Architects
The route provides the visitor with a multiplicity of experiences, evoking the complex social interactions of the many cultures that have traversed the site. The strong southern light is tempered by rusted steel screens that echo the network of branches of indigenous trees; horizontally slatted natural timber evokes traditional shade structures. The arrival point is marked by the first of the hollow cairns, lit by an oculus that tracks the path of the sun. The experience of the internal exhibition space is cavernous, articulated by the exposed tiles made from the local soil. Light is filtered through fused coloured glass, with dappled patterns reflected from the ponds that cool the air that naturally ventilates the buildings. The termination of this central space is a second cairn, representing the sunset and housing the golden rhinoceros that has become a Southern African icon. Visitors have a choice of route: ramp and stair, internal and external, to move into the upper parts of the vaults and appreciate the privileged view of the lower volume, as did the ancestors from their elevated position on the plateau of the Hill. The route continues outside the covered spaces, leading to the highest part of the site and affording a view across a flat expanse to Mapungubwe Hill in the distance, with its backdrop of the Limpopo.
Mapungubwe Interpretation Center by Peter Rich Architects
The project’s agenda extends beyond the presentation of ancient and more recent history of the area to awaken an understanding of the vulnerability of the local ecology. These objectives are manifested in the construction process of the Centre in which unemployed local people were trained in the manufacture of stabilised earth tiles and in building the timbrel vaults. This knowledge has been accepted into the culture of the region, with the masons continuing the skills they have learned by using the remaining tiles for their houses in nearby villages. Thus, the Centre not only tells a story, but has become part of a story that is still unfolding, of culture developing in symbiosis with its natural legacy.

Source (all pictures): © 

Wits student wins 2012 Corobrik Architectural Student Award

University of the Witwatersrand Student, Nontokozo Mhlungu has, clinched the prestigious national Corobrik Architectural Student Award for 2012, beating finalists from seven other universities around South Africa to the winning post.

Nontokozo Mhlungu - winner of the 2012 Corobrik Architectural Student Award

Nontokozo Mhlungu’s postgraduate work has won her the Corobrik Architectural Student Award, a first for a black student

In her thesis entitled “Hillside Sanctuary: Reception centre for the urban refugee” Mhlungu explored a refugee’s survival strategies in Johannesburg.

She believes refugee camps are an example of ‘post crisis’ rehabilitative systems which vainly attempt to restore stability in a state of disaster. With so many refugees arriving in Johannesburg, she questioned whether the city had made sufficient provision for sheltering and protecting refugees particularly should there be further xenophobic turmoil in the townships. Her research took into account facilities offered by refugee aid and religious organisations and how this type of accommodation differed from typical rural and urban settlements.

“By understanding these fundamental parallels, a premise is formed for the development of a unique and prototypical urban refugee centre located in Hillbrow at the heart of Johannesburg’s eclectic foreign national communities,” she said.

The centre presented in her thesis comprises emergency relief facilities, rehabilitative programmes and transitional accommodation all encompassed within a spiritual, yet nondenominational Christian church establishment. This highlights the ‘curative’ relationship between spirituality, architecture and the user.

The panel of judges, architects Heather Dodd, Sindile Ngonyama and Peter Rich, said Mhlungu’s thesis is a scheme that explores the spiritual, existential and practical needs of the refugee in Johannesburg. As spokesperson for the judges, Peter Rich says, “it is a mature spatial exploration of a difficult site that is resolved with a very clean concept. As a final resolution it’s an architectural that is enabling, it has a pleasure of use and its opened to adaption.”

“Good research and a well prepared entry that was clearly presented explained how she arrived at the concept.”

As the judges felt two more entries deserved commendation, highly commended certificates were awarded to Jarryd Murray from the University of Johannesburg and Norbert Koch from the University of Pretoria.

Speaking after the event last night (April 18, 2013) at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, Corobrik managing director, Dirk Meyer, said it had been particularly difficult to select a winner for the 26th Corobrik Student Awards due to the high standard or work that was entered. However,dominant issues that had emerged included environmental preservation, sustainability and cultural and social challenges which, together, indicated that the architects of tomorrow were rapidly moving towards embracing a whole new dynamic – responsible architecture.

“Sustainable and responsible architecture is the way forward and this is reflected in all the students’ entries this year. This project, in particular, showed an innate understanding of challenges that are faced in a complex contemporary urban environment and represents a courageous effort to take architecture beyond the present day discourse,” he said.

Meyer said that, throughout, students had echoed Corobrik’s commitment to addressingcultural, sustainability and environmental issues. Not only was the company developing products that could improve both the quality and functionality of entry level housing in South Africa but also adopting eco-friendly business practices in line with international best practice. SABS 14001 Environmental Management certification and investment in proven technologies would continue to drive the process as would progress in Corobrik’s mission to convert more of its facilities from coal to cleaner burning natural gas as a firing fuel.

Nontokozo Mhlungu - winner of the 2012 Corobrik Architectural Student Award

Mhlungu’s supervisor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Architecture and Planning, Hilton Judin, described her thesis as “a poetic spiritual project that still takes account of a real context and community faced with complex hardships.” He pointed out that a landscape had been transformed into a building, park and platform to meet both daily and emergency needs of growing immigrant communities in the inner city,

“Nontokozo has shown both design and social sensitivity, exploring an extremely topical architectural issue that is under recognised. Her poetic spatial expression does not come at the expense of pressing social tasks faced currently by architects in the city,” he observed.

Mhlungu said that the idea for her thesis evolved from her interest in the fate of refugees following xenophobic attacks in early 2008. The Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg opened its doors to hundreds of desperate people, many of whom were Zimbabweans, and ultimately ended up embroiled in a law suit.

She said that she had initially gone to the church to investigate how it could be transformed into a refugee centre but had soon realised that the structure posed a number of problems. She had instead decided on another place in Hillbrow.

Mhlungu’s greatest challenge was collecting the data required for her thesis which entailed persuading people to talk to her. Suspicious that she was either a journalist or a government official looking to deport them, many were extremely defensive, she said.

From a design perspective, she said that she had chosen a site that was not level which required using terraces and locating some facilities underground. The overall objective was to make the centre both safe and accessible – characteristics which could seen to be contradictory. Nevertheless, she believes that she achieved a compromise that would enable refugees to have easy access to the centre whilst still feeling sheltered and secure.

Mhlungu was selected as the top architectural student at the University of the Witwatersrand at the end of 2012, receiving a R7 000 prize from Corobrik. Winning the national award means an additional prize of R50 000.

According to Mhlungu, winning the regional and national awards has been the highlight of a very positive and rewarding experience. “The publicity I have received has opened a lot of doors for me and helped me to see architecture in a whole new light. This was not just a project. I have also realised that people want to see architects doing things for their communities.”

Looking forward, Judin said that future challenges facing graduates such as Mhlungu included a shortage of public space, housing and resources as well as issues surrounding sustainability. “It will be difficult for them to gain support for their ideas and to practice with scarce resources that are mainly being fed into private not public projects,” he said.

Nevertheless, he is confident that once they have acquired the technical proficiencies and skills needed to juggle some of the conflicting forces after a few years of practical experience, the architects of the future will rise to the many challenges that they will inevitably face.

Caption: Nontokozo Mhlungu from the University of the Witwatersrand is the winner of the 26th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year. Her entry entitled Hillside Sanctuary is a reception centre for urban refugees in Johannesburg.

Additional photographs will be available within a few days, please let Shirley Williams know your requirements.


St Leon 10 / SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

St Leon 10 - This home was designed for a family with 2 young sons who wanted a house which simultaneously created spaces for casual intimate family occasions or large get-togethers.

St Leon 10 SAOTA - Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

St Leon 10 SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects

The site allows for unprecedented views towards the 12 Apostle Mountains, Clifton Beaches and Robben Island. The building is cut into the slope with approximately 50% of its rear face below the natural ground level. The upper level floats over the essentially glazed South West facing first floor and this exaggerates the height of the building relative to the adjacent ground level.

st-leon-10-saota-stefan-antoni-olmesdahl-truen-architects_stleon_1_int22_den_007aThe house is organised in a linear manner with all rooms facing the sea view. The rear of the house offers privacy with no openings other than the glazed double volume entrance space. This space is screened with a steel framed timber screen and access off the street is through heavy timber gates.

The double volume entrance space leads onto the main living wing of the house including 2 lounges, dining room and kitchen. A sculptural stair leads up a triple volume space from the entrance up to the second floor and bedroom levels. The ground floor is accessed through the same stairwell and accommodates a generous pool entertainment room with a feature sunken lounge, back-lit onyx bar and wine cellar. A gym and second guest room are also accommodated on this lowest level.

st-leon-10-saota-stefan-antoni-olmesdahl-truen-architects_stleon_1_ext21_terr_009ANTONI ASSOCIATES were appointed as the interior decorators. On the entrance living level the interiors are kept to a neutral palette with a subtle play on texture in materials and fabric selected. Soft cream leathers and weathered timber finishes layer the interior with luxurious elements. The overall feel is warm and inviting.

Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Location: Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Architects In Charge: Stefan Antoni & Philip Olmesdahl
Interior Design: Antoni Associates – Mark Rielly
Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of SAOTA

House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen Architects

Johannesburg-based studio Nico Van Der Meulen Architects has completed the House in Mooikloof.

This contemporary two-story home is located in Pretoria, South Africa and was designed to be “visually extraordinary”.House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen Architects

House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen Architects:

“When the owners of this home approached Nico van der Meulen Architects, their brief was simple: “to design a stunning, cutting-edge, contemporary home”. The only absolute requirement was that it had to be visually extraordinary with an indoor swimming pool.

The relaxed attitude of the client and the large site (10 000m²/~2.5 acres) provided the architects with a golden opportunity to explore the home three-dimensionally with advanced 3D computer software, and fuse the programmatic requirements into the 3D model. The outcome was a design where form meets function. Enhancing the structure are the incorporation of sun-orientation, circulation, open-plan living areas, view orientation and privacy.

House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen ArchitectsRudolph van der Meulen, from Nico van der Meulen Architects, explains: “The result is a design where the three dimensionality of the building is celebrated with intersecting planes of steel and glass ‘hovering’ above the solid elements of concrete and plastered brick. Aluminum louvers are used for sun control and privacy, while creating depth and layering. The ground floor was purposely lifted above the landscape to improve the views of the garden, and to create level differences in the ground floor plane. The main bedroom cantilevers over angled concrete columns and reinforces the ‘hovering’ idea”.

The layout centers around the double volume living and dining area. The dining area is placed on a platform to enhance the views towards the garden. The kitchen is more private while at the same time not entirely enclosed (it is open-plan, leading to the indoor pool area). The indoor pool and living area is enclosed with stacking frameless glass doors which gives the inhabitants the opportunity to completely open up the space. Drinks can be conveniently served directly to the pool via an in-water pool bar

House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen Architects

The first floor is split with the children’s bedrooms on the one side, and the main bedroom on the other. The main bedroom has a small private lounge area and is open plan to the bathroom. Exterior louvers give privacy for the floor-to-ceiling glass showers. With the exception of the home theatre and the second guest room, which was added later, all rooms are north facing. Even the kitchen that is located behind the indoor pool receives direct north sunlight from the high windows set in the angled roof during winter.

The interior design team from M Square Lifestyle Design ensured that finishes and fittings accentuated the architecture of the home. All fittings were specifically designed and made to suit the architecture of the house. “The interior reflects the exterior with intersecting planes creating points of interest. The exposed steel roof trusses, steel I-beams, and the bent steel staircase tie the interior with the exterior and refer to the quasi industrial aesthetic of the home,” explains Phia van der Meulen of M Square Lifestyle Design.

“The color palette was purposefully monochromatic with accents of red. This is drawn from the external finish specification set out by the architect. The idea was to create a holistic edifice, where the boundaries from inside to out are diffused,” adds Phia. Steel sculptures by Regardt van der Meulen were used to blend with the steel structure.

Some of the materials used included polyurethane flooring over concrete floors, mild steel both raw and powder-coated, natural ash timber veneers and a sandstone gabion wall which adds texture as counterpoint to the black polished steel wall in the lounge.

The look was completed with contemporary furniture supplied by M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

The home fuses aesthetics and functionality and meets the owners’ requirements for cutting-edge design, while fulfilling the lifestyle requirements of a modern South African family.

The landscaping was designed to incorporate a large wetlands feature to contain the water seeping out from the rock underlay and this supply an ample source for irrigation of the extensive property.

Plants used were all indigenous and adapted to the area, while large sculptures by Anton Smit create visual interest in the landscape.”House in Mooikloof by Nico van der Meulen Architects Floor Plan

House The by Nico van der Meulen Architects

Johannesburg-based studio Nico van der Meulen Architects has just completed the House The project, an extensive remodeling of a South African residence. House The by Nico van der Meulen ArchitectsHouse The by Nico van der Meulen Architects:

“Following the trend of making alterations to and revamping existing houses, the owners of this home enlisted the expertise of Nico van der Meulen Architects for a modern upgrade. “They liked the current trend in our work towards a mix of steel construction and concrete framing,” explains Nico van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects.

House The by Nico van der Meulen ArchitectsThe new design was achieved by removing most of the internal walls on the ground floor and adding a porte cochere and a new lanai with an infinity edge pool. The impressive porte cochere is suspended from a semi-circular beam supported by the bisecting wall and a huge column and transfer beam over the pool. The element of water was added into the design with a koi pond to the north side of the existing lounge, with glass stepping stones that lead to a new pivoted glass front door. A small waterfall at the front door adds the welcoming sound of water, while a huge sheet of water is visible through a cut-out in the massive rusted steel wall bisecting the contemporary South African house to create a private pool area.

House The by Nico van der Meulen ArchitectsM Square Lifestyle Necessities decorated the interiors using a palette of monochromatic colours with the interior furnishings in similar and contrasting colours. Accents of green were used sparingly to add fresh splashes of colour. The modern lines of the furniture are a continuation of the interior structural lines. As the structural interior elements are simple with sharp lines, attention is brought to the furniture pieces and decorative items within the interior. For this project, the interior designers professionally created these interior spaces with the use of its unique imported products, Molteni and C, Zeus and Ligne Pure. The designers cleverly balanced the stark simplicity of the structural elements with carefully selected and placed furniture pieces, colour schemes, soft furnishings and decorative details.

The end result is a home with a liberated feel – as if the normal rules of a suburban home have been suspended, with light, nature and views from everywhere.”House The by Nico van der Meulen Architects

House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects

Johannesburg-based studio Nico Van Der Meulen Architects has completed the House Serengeti project.

This contemporary two-story home is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.

House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects

House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects:

“This Johannesburg home, located on a suburban golf estate, is happy in Africa, as well as with its place in the global design village. The home’s visual success is due to its perfectly balanced application of earthy textures against high-gloss finishes, and raw material against refined elements.

“The Brief”, says Rudolph van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects,, “was to create a stylish family home with ecologically sound design that maximized indoor-outdoor living to take full advantage of Johannesburg’s legendary eight-month summer”.

Says van der Meulen, “It’s a double-storey home with an open-plan living area downstairs, an upstairs pyjama lounge, a study, and four bedrooms, all of them en-suite. The three family bedrooms are upstairs, and we positioned the guest room downstairs, separating it from the family’s sleeping area to maximize privacy”.

House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects BedroomThe home combines the use of rock, steel, wood and glass – classic modernist design elements re-mixed for new applications. The front of the home features a rusted-steel-clad wall, cleverly mounted on tracks so that it slides back to reveal the garage. Visual continuity is provided through the use of rusted-steel finishing on the entrance and upper-level window frames.

Wood is used on the home’s walkway and its bathroom flooring.

“There is a Balau wooden walkway from the street to the front door, which carries you over a Koi pond that fronts the house, and the master bathroom also has Balau wooden-floor decking”, says van der Meulen, “so when you slide back the glass doors onto the terrace, it visually creates one unified space. It’s also very easy to keep clean. We’ve avoided the use of tiles in the bathrooms, opting instead for back-sprayed glass. For the kids’ room, we’ve used lime green to add some visual punch”.

Visual lift is also provided through the use of sculptures by van der Meulen’s brother, Regardt, and artist Ronel Jordaan’s world-famous Merino-wool felt pebbles. It’s little visual treats such as these that inform the home’s many X-factors, lifting it above the mundane. Every turn of a corner provides the eye with a discreet visual delight that’s almost Japanese in its subtlety, from the use of raked plaster in a wall application and the hidden-access pantry in the kitchen to the fireplace surround clad in granite panels and the pyjama lounge’s floating ceilings.

House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects

The home’s lower level interacts with the back garden’s pool and dining terrace through the use of floor-to-ceiling slide-back glass walls that create a seamless interactive space.

A kitchen window-hatch opens onto the barbeque area, providing an almost modern twist on the old-school roadhouse.

“It’s an ecologically smart home”, says van der Meulen, “with a two-foot-thick, stone-clad western wall serving as a heat absorber while providing visual kick. Likewise, the home’s windows are recessed, with overhangs that are strategically cantilevered to catch the sun during the winter months, while blocking it in the summer. Similarly, the home has sun-control fins to cut out the summer sun. The roof is insulated Chromadek and timber, which also provide insulation”.

When viewed from the street, the home’s central core is transparent, book-ended by imposing solid shapes on either side; you can look right through it onto the vlei and the golf course beyond its back garden.

Ultimately, the home’s environment informs its location – not its design or decor. Above all, it provides a subtle sense of understated glamour through its visual accents, successfully combining with the hassle-free maintenance of its durable building materials and maximized indoor-outdoor living application – a winning trilogy that’s perfect for modern living.”House Serengeti by Nico van der Meulen Architects Floor Plan

House E16 by Wessels Joyce Associates

South African practice Wessels Joyce Associates has completed the house E16 project.

This contemporary residence is located in Knysna, a town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

House E16 by Wessels Joyce Associates

House E16 by Wessels Joyce Associates

House E16 by Wessels Joyce Associates

House E16 by Wessels Joyce Associates

Godswindow Residence in South Africa by Gass Architecture Design Studio

Tucked away in the folds of the South African Landscape and 15 miles away from Swellendam city, is a serene, secret paradise, Godswindow.

Godswindow Residence near Swellendam by Gass Architecture Design StudioDesigned by Johannesburg-based architect Georg van Gass of Gass Architecture Design Studio and landscaped by Patrick Watson, the U-shaped residence sits on 266 acres at the door-step of the breathtaking mountains and valleys of Langeberg Mountains.

The Godswindow residence includes a boutique guest house with two exclusive suites and can accommodate up to three couples.

Godswindow’s suites can be booked for around $290 per night and per person.

This unique property is also currently listed for sale with an asking price of around $2,6 million.

Godswindow Residence near Swellendam by Gass Architecture Design StudioGodswindow Residence in South Africa by Gass Architecture Design Studio:

“This new residential dwelling is situated in Swellendam at the door-step of the breathtaking mountains and valleys of Langeberg Mountains – a view so magnificent that the locals have named it “God’s Window.” It was because of this exquisite setting that simple forms and materials were chosen for the architecture, in order to facilitate a subtle intervention – to “lie gently” on the landscape. The buildings were constructed using largely local textures and materials reminiscent of its distinctly Southern African origins.

Godswindow Residence near Swellendam by Gass Architecture Design StudioIn addition to the architecture itself, efforts were made to make the house and the land itself more sustainable. For example, the land was cleared of non-native invading species, like the black wattle. Also, all the water used in the house is harvested from the site itself, and as a result there is no connection to the municipal water supply line, making the house self-sustaining from a water perspective.

The buildings that comprise the house, while simple in form and texture, are intentionally oriented on the site to engage the surroundings. The house is composed of three discrete box structures forming three edges of a private courtyard. The largest box form contains the public areas – the entertainment, living, and kitchen spaces. This box, with its glass façade and uplifted roof, opens itself up completely to its surrounding. In contrast, the smaller boxes, flanking to form either side of the courtyard, include the private domains of the bedroom and bathrooms, and on one side, a movie room. These buildings are made of thick masonry walls and concrete roofs, which form cave-like, intimate spaces where one can retreat for solitary quietude.

The purposeful orientation of these three buildings as perimeters to a courtyard creates a spatial relationship with the mountains, which, in essence, form the last perimeter of the courtyard. Moreover, the structural and material qualities of these buildings, accentuated even further with the line of the main roof structure ascending towards the sky, is in direct dialogue with “God’s Window” – as if the earth were communing with the heavens.”

Godswindow Residence near Swellendam by Gass Architecture Design Studio Floor Plan

Head Road 1843 by Antoni Associates

South African architecture studio Antoni Associates has designed the interior of this contemporary home located on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa.

Head Road 1843 by Antoni AssociatesHead Road 1843 by Antoni Associate:

“Located on the slopes of Signal Hill in Cape Town, this property overlooks the Atlantic Seaboard and historic Robben Island. Antoni Associates was commissioned to re-furbish a SAOTA designed house to a new luxurious standard. The clients’ brief was to create a cutting edge 21st Century residence that incorporated the use of luxurious and tailored finishes. The clients required an additional two children’s bedrooms, gym, and home cinema. Consideration had to be given to the pool terrace to allow for entertainment as well as to capture the breath-taking city views.

The furniture selection and decor is a combination of bespoke pieces and imported branded furniture. Adjacent to the open plan living and dining room is the bar containing a custom-designed humidor for an extensive cigar collection. The kitchen is finished in high gloss white lacquered units with Volakas marble counter tops.

Head Road 1843 by Antoni AssociatesThe outdoor entertainment area has been designed to facilitate a multitude of entertainment functions and includes a gazebo pavilion, outdoor dining and grill area as well as relaxation for sunseekers. The pool gazebo has been constructed mainly of Iroko timber and has a raised deck with concealed strip lighting. In contrast to the white Volakas floor, black Nero Maraquino marble has been used to clad a cantilevered fireplace shelf which extends over the pool edge. Sumptuous upholstery adds to the sexy comfort of this outdoor room. The infinity pool allows the eye to flow to the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Head Road 1843 by Antoni Associates Floor Plan

House in Camps Bay by Luis Mira Architects

Cape Town-based studio Luis Mira Architects has designed the House in Camps Bay project.

Completed in 2010, this 1097 square metres contemporary residence is located in Cape Town, South Africa.

House in Camps Bay by Luis Mira ArchitectsHouse in Camps Bay by Luis Mira Architects:

“The house is used as a holiday home by a single person, who often invites guest to stay. It needed to be a space that could be used as a controlled studio with the feeling of being open, as well as to be able to morph into private and individual spaces when the house is full of visitors.

Our gaze is on the ‘geographical room’ of Camps Bay; the Atlantic Ocean, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain in the backdrop. The design intent is applied by framing views towards the sea (rooms) and opening up spaces (terraces) to look up at the mountains.

House in Camps Bay by Luis Mira ArchitectsThe concept rests on creating a subtle journey through the open spaces and through the interior that constantly glimpses at the landscape and merges within the Architecture that never reveal the entire building in one instant.

House in Camps Bay by Luis Mira ArchitectsIn order to allow all rooms in the front of the house proximity to the sea, and to bring fresh air, light and circulation into the back of the house, two glass walled courtyards were introduced on the ground floor. One courtyard, built around the passage, connects the bedrooms and the other one is built inside the main bedroom as part of the en suite area. These two courtyards are reflective of sea views.

The use of neutral and natural materials is the response to the desire of bringing the outdoors inside, achieved by contrasting the exuberant landscape with the ‘blank canvas’ of the interior. The ultimate concept of luxury is the constant extending and opening of the inside spaces to meet in full the unique and exquisite South African climate.”House in Camps Bay by Luis Mira Architects Floor Plan