Woven Cascade

Woven Cascade

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Woven Cascade

A young Norwegian couple relocated to South Africa in 2010 and sourced this property shortly after their arrival. From a single storey house with a swimming pool on ground measuring 753 square metres, the new build now spans a total covered area of 435 square metres.

As the family began to grow, the need to create a custom-designed home became apparent. They had lived on the site for several years prior and were aware of what views they wanted to capture, and which areas could be more wind-free.

Says lead design architect Renato Graca: ‘The clients were key to the project’s success. Their brief was clear, decision making was concise and efficient. They gave us a great deal of freedom in the interpretation of the brief and its execution. This was a pleasure in the otherwise massively complex and frustrating world of building.

‘The site is relatively long but narrow with a significant two-storey height difference between front and rear. So, with this existing slope, we were able to cascade the house and create various levels of intimacy, light and dialogue between both interior and exterior.’

To maximise the views and address the fall of the land, the structure was divided into two sections, which are linked via the central family zone courtyard with adjacent kitchen on the first floor.

By locating all family bedrooms and bathrooms at the rear of the property privacy is created naturally, with the front of the house incorporating the more public spaces for living and entertaining. The central position of the kitchen and courtyard means that the family can be in different areas without being visually separated. The courtyard has been placed on the north side, with the house as a buffer for the strong southeaster winds, which allows it to be used year-round. The pool was also placed on the east-west axis, to provide the longest possible length and boost solar heating.

The vertical steps within the structure allow for unobstructed views from almost every room in the house with multiple terraces for outdoor living and entertaining.

The architects recall: ‘The soil conditions were not as expected, and very deep footings were required, which caused delays in construction; the rear of the house is effectively built on stilts to offset these poor soil conditions.
‘The owners are Scandinavian, have lived all over the world and travel extensively. Their design intent was minimal, involving warm colours and natural materials with timber used for flooring, ceilings, privacy screens, wall panelling and all joinery. These timber elements were complemented with off-shutter concrete, natural stone cladding and Fibonacci tiles to create a palette of timeless, natural materials that age well.’

Project architect René Bakker adds: ‘The design of the house responds in every possible way to its environment and has taken the family’s current and future needs into account. Consisting of a combination of vertical and horizontal focus with two floating roofs above, the main vertical element is the tiled feature wall, which creates a buffer for the southeaster wind, as well as privacy from the neighbouring property.

This wall is disconnected from the rest of the house by a two-storey high window and skylight, which enables the living room on the first floor to enjoy maximum daylight but not direct sun, due to the careful positioning of various overhangs and the use of performance glass. We needed to limit the number of steel posts to exploit views, which required some advanced engineering to achieve.’

Renato Graca: ‘We aimed to achieve a build that meets our standard for modern, minimalist architecture, but also to create an environment for an energetic young family that isn’t restricted by the architectural design. Design and usability needed to be considered equally in the layout and choice of materials.’

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VISI | Oranjezicht Boutique Hotel | Sweet Escape

VISI | Oranjezicht Boutique Hotel | Sweet Escape

Cape Town is one of those places where, if you’re lucky, you can find a property in the suburbs that’s surrounded by nature, has sea views and is located minutes from the city. Camissa House is just that: named after the Khoena word for “the place of sweet waters”, the eight-bedroom boutique hotel is situated in a quiet cul-de-sac neighbouring a green belt. On the fringes of the City Bowl – the residential areas within the amphitheatre created by the mountain range – its back garden is Table Mountain National Park, and you have to tilt your head right back to see the famous eponymous mountain’s summit.

Owner David Ryan, founder and CEO of safari company Rhino Africa, is adept at finding and developing sites that give Mother City visitors a unique private perch from which to explore (or to hide out). He’s the owner of boutique hotel MannaBay, which has occupied two sites in the City Bowl. For the brief to architect Lauren Bolus of Fabian Architects and Make Studio, Ryan used his hospitality insights and experience from building MannaBay and Silvan Safari in Sabi Sand Game Reserve. “We know guests in Cape Town typically spend less time in their bedroom than they would on safari, so we wanted to maximise the public areas of the hotel,” he explains. “We spent a lot of time on creating visually and spatially distinctive public areas – the magnificent breakfast atrium with views of Table Mountain, the rooftop bar, the pool area as well as the cosy indoor bar.”

While most new apartment developments around the country are marketing “hotel-style” luxury and amenities, this hotel offers all of those modern comforts within the well-appointed shared spaces, originality and scale of a home. The former building was, in fact, a six-bedroom house to begin with, which Bolus reconfigured on the same footprint. The result is that no two suites are the same, maximising the panoramic rooftop balcony view or a meditative mountain-retreat perspective. It’s not formulaic, which is reflected in the finishes and interior design, and there’s also an intimacy, making for a memorable stay.

The most distinctive feature of Camissa House is the steel-and-glass atrium that brings Table Mountain in, letting the location and natural surroundings permeate the space. Surrounded by common areas, the atrium – which was an existing outside courtyard – “is the ‘piazza’ of the hotel,” says Bolus. “There are visual links to it through the textured breeze blocks as one circulates through the levels and overlooks it while walking along the passages towards the suites.”

Built on the mountain slopes above a large garage, the hotel’s three floors are terraced, and this effect of layering has been echoed in the internal layout and interior design. Architecturally, there are many sharp edges and clean lines, which are softened by Bolus’s choice of jewel tones and materials that are rich and textural, and that pick up Ryan’s vibrant artworks.

The building takes up most of the plot, so consideration was made to highlight existing surrounding flora and incorporate additional greenery. The atrium houses a tree at its centre, looks onto a rockery and is bordered by planters on the upper galleries. “Plants have been used as a functional aspect of the design, rather than an afterthought,” explains landscaper Chris Maddams. “The planting is intended to be eye-catching, either as a sculptural focal point or to create swathes of colour to brighten the spaces, and to surround guests with the lushness of the ferny kloof and ensure they feel like the hotel belongs high up on the mountain.”

House & Leisure

House & Leisure

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House & Leisure Gardening Trends

Whether your green space is an urban enclave or an expansive garden, landscaper Chris Maddams of Red Daffodil offers up 10 trends to look out for during the months ahead…

1. INDIGENOUS TREES These will grow up to become the centrepiece of your outside space. Just be careful to plant varieties such as a lavender tree (Heteropyxis natalensis) or forest elder (Nuxia floribunda) that won’t grow too big.

2. ORGANIC GARDENS Not just chemical-free compost and fertiliser, this includes pesticides and herbicides, too.

3. GRASSES Planted en masse, such as in this Franchesca Watson-designed garden, and with so many indigenous varieties to choose from, grasses are being found in gardens everywhere.

4. MIRRORS These make a space look much bigger than it actually is. Garden designers have taken this trick outside and are using mirrors to reflect the most attractive aspects of a garden.

5. VERTICAL GARDENS Carefully planted living walls can create several square metres of garden in places where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to have plants. These green walls are also a contemporary way of softening an imposing facade.

6. VEGETABLE AND HERB GARDENS These are back in fashion as people become more conscious about what they eat. You can read more about starting your own edible garden here.

7. GRAVEL Dig up your lawn and replace it with large formal flowerbeds and gravel pathways for an easy-to-maintain garden that requires a lot less water.

8. AWAY WITH POOLS With the price of electricity going up, landscapers are reporting filling as many pools as they see being built.

9. ROOFTOP GARDENS
These are becoming popular green spaces thanks to new waterproofing products and lighter substrates that allow you, for example, to lay a lawn over a tiled patio. Read more about green roofs here.

10. TOPIARIES Not only the ‘lollipop’ variety on thin stems, but large shaped shrubs, offer the formality of hedges and create volumes of green to provide structure and contrast to the more fun and colourful elements around them.

Read the original article here.