location: Eden Rock Estate, Pennington, KwaZulu-Natal | architects: Metropole Architects  | design architect: David Louis | interior and landscape design: Dr. Gabriele Lachinger | photography: Grant Pitcher

Nestled into the indigenous coastal forest of KwaZulu-Natal’s South Coast is this 2017/’18 project by Metropole Architects. It’s a 330-square metre, three-bedroom home in the Eden Rock Estate near Scottburgh and is a contemporary architectural design response to a picturesque site that enjoys a year-round warm coastal climate, local indigenous flora and fauna and inland sunset views of the rolling hills to the North West.

Stylistically, the home is a fusion of two archetypes: the more traditional (and arguably more comfortable) pitched roof form of expression for residential architecture in South Africa; and a more progressive contemporary flat-roofed format. On approach, the double level façade is intentionally planar, minimalist and crisp; resulting in an architecture that is in stark contrast to the natural context and that visually engages with the road.

An L-shaped plan format spans the entire width of the site, an approach to the siting of the building that makes for efficient use of the compact space. Concurrently, it provides effective privacy to the inhabitants and doubles as an efficient barrier to strong prevailing winds off the sea to the north east. A minimum area is committed to the public face and functional activities like vehicles, allowing for a maximum provision of open and sheltered space for private living, entertainment, relaxation and enjoyment of the landscaped garden, wild natural bush and views beyond.

A visually smooth, crisp and clean upper level in painted plaster and charcoal aluminium-framed glass sits atop a more solid, textured stone-clad lower level with its walls slightly set back so as to further enhance visual separation and provide a sense of floating the upper building mass on the lower level. This composition is in turn pinned down by a sheeted pitched roof with closed eaves, concealed gutters and no visible rainwater downpipes. It is finished in charcoal so as to visually unify the roof elements into a single component, devoid of clutter, with a sharp crisp outline against the sky.

Interior styling, furniture and finishes are a European eclectic and contemporary fusion of colour and texture, garnished with South African artworks that complement the architectural space and synergise with what is a contemporary aesthetic.

For the full article see Habitat #266 July / August 2018


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