When there are beautiful views there are also a lot of admirers and a lot of visitors that walk by and enjoy them. From a local’s perspective, this means that privacy is compromised and ways to deal with this issue need to be found. Architects responds to the challenge by being ingenious and designing unique structures like this modern residence located in Cape Town, South Africa.
The street-facing facade is compact and closed off in order to ensure privacyGabion walls frame the house and the garage, establishing a buffer between the facade and the street
The house was completed in 2016 by Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design. It offers 789 square meters of living space and its closed off front facade and the high boundary walls ensure a private and comfortable interior, hidden from anyone passing by. Instead of having the house placed at the back of the site, the architects were bold enough to line it up with the neighboring properties at street level.
An infinity pool can be found at the back. It’s framed by the yard and a raised deckThe pool is partially cantilevered and this helps it capture great views of the distant landscape
The design and structure of the house were dictated by the views and landscape but also by the neighboring properties, as the architects made sure to let it integrate and blend in just right in order to enhance the streetscape. They avoided making the house too tall in order to keep it from becoming overpowering compared to the other structures around it.
The circulation area is positioned on one side of the house and has glass walls that open it to the yardThe interior is organized into three blocks, each with its own connection to the outdoors
Because the house needed to blend in and couldn’t be too tall compared to its neighbors, the internal volumes don’t have high ceilings and they’re relatively small. They’re structured on three levels and in three main blocks, each with a different function. The first floor offers views over the street towards the sea and has cedar wood shutters that ensure privacy without completely blocking the light and the views.
The kitchen is open and part of a large social plan with sliding glass doors that lead into the gardenThe dining area has a glazed facade that invites a panoramic view of the sea inside the houseThe ceilings are left exposed and unfinished and their ruggedness is balanced out by all the wood
Gabion walls frame the garage and elevate the living spaces. At the same time, they hide the utility areas. Despite their robust nature and the enclosed front facade, the house is strongly connected to its surroundings and the indoor-outdoor transition is seamless. The architects made sure to maximize the Northern exposure and to minimize solar heat gain by using drop-down screens over the glazed facades.
The kitchen has a clerestory window that brings natural light inside without taking up valuable space on the wallThe kitchen island has a bar extension which can also serve as a breakfast tableSome of the volumes are cantilevered and this allows them to capture the best views
Concrete, local stone, cedar and oak wood and corten steel are the main materials used in the project. They were chosen because of their ever changing nature and the fact that they transform as the time passes, modifying the aspect of the house with new color tones and textures. They’re also materials that blend well with the landscape that surrounds the house.
There’s a separate space that serves as a wine cellar. It has racks all the way up to the ceilingThe staircases form a circular area opened to the courtyard through full-height windows
Exposed concrete ceilings are paired with polished floors in the social areas and oak wood floor planks in the bedrooms. The interior design is well balanced without being bold or unusual. The simplicity of the materials involved allows the views to be enhanced and to become a part of the decor.
The bedroom suites are serene and simple, featuring a minimalist palette of colorsSliding glass doors bring in fresh air, light and panoramic views of the sea
All important functions have direct access to the outdoor areas. A large infinity pool cantilevers to capture views of the sea, the kitchen opens onto a vegetable and herb garden and the bedrooms have sliding doors that connect them to open terraces facing the sea. The bathrooms have glazed walls too but they’re covered with shutters that ensure privacy without blocking all the light.
The private volumes of the house are sheltered by privacy screens that block unwanted viewsThe shutter screens let some light filter through and also frame views of the surroundings