C O U R T Y A R D H O U S E
Residence - Newlands, Cape Town
Court House, also known as Courtyard House, is situated in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The plot is relatively conventional at 30 m x 30 m, flat with a clean north aspect, surrounded by neighbourhood trees and a magnificent view of the ‘back of Table Mountain’. A thick ‘Ficus Hedge’, some 4m tall, was retained and screens the house from the street.
The brief required a home for a family: three bedrooms, guest bedroom (to double as flat with separate entry), kitchen, lounge, dining, study (alternatively a second lounge), garden store, double garage, pool and a garden with a lawn for kids and dogs.
In planning, an ‘L’ shaped footprint was employed in order to maximise the balance between occupied and open space, the north aspect and the views of the mountain. The structure has been positioned as close to the back and adjacent boundaries as is permissible (ie 3 metres). This space has been utilised for the entry to the house and other functions such as yard and herb garden.
The form of the building is rectilinear, constructed of load bearing brickwork, concrete slabs and ‘flat’ sheet metal roofing concealed behind parapets. The north facades are fully glazed from floor to ceiling whilst the ‘back’ facades are solid, made of fair face painted brickwork with punctured openings. The glazed facades are screened by top hung timber stained shutters with ‘woven’ louvre blades to create shade as well as a soft dappled light effect on the internal surfaces.
The bedrooms are situated at first floor, leading onto external terraces, which also provide horizontal screening and shading to the glass facades as well as fixing for the top-hung shutters.
The entrance from the street leads down a narrow landscaped entry courtyard to the front door situated at the ‘centre’ of the ‘L’ shaped footprint. The entry hallway is located at the focal point of the plan and the site and leads directly on to the open garden space.
The palette of the house is neutral, allowing for furniture, joinery, rugs, artworks, and book shelves to form the interior.
Bernard James & Partners
Beekman & Thunissen
THE CAPE INSTITUTE OF
2011 CIA Award for Architecture
Courtyard House, Cape Town
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