Views of the Banhoek Mountains over the pool (above left), View of Farmhouse
from the vineyards below (above right)
Design task : to insert a home into this scenic setting among the mountains of Stellenbosch, Banhoek Valley
The landscape is harsh – very hot in summer, powerful winds, very cold in winter and very wet. The weather comes in from all directions. The terrain is rugged with towering rocky cliffs and undulating hills, mostly under vine, with fruit orchards nearby.
The setting of the house could not be on top of a hill. But rather semi submerged within the slopes of the existing vinyards, with planted roofs to embed the house in the hillside and to create thermal mass and insulation.
Early sketch, massing and placement studies (above)
The gut response was to make sheltered spaces, but which could be both internal and external – defensible from the elements, yet openable to take in the landscape and to become a part of the landscape.
The spaces vary greatly in their type, orientation and volume adding variety to the different types of experience within and around the building.
The east court (above left) and seen from inside the barn (above right)
The primary space is the barn, the communal and central space which connects to all the spaces, both internal and external, without corridors or unnecessary passages. The barn space focuses on the views of the mountains in the distance, but also connects seamlessly with the outdoor courtyards and exterior spaces.
Timber lined barn interior (above left), Design drawing study for barn (above right)
Internal timber lining used in the barn is juxtaposed with external cladding of stone, which is sourced from the site excavation. This juxtaposition adds to the variety in experience of the various parts of the house, connecting the senses of smell and touch to space.
Timber lining detail, sliding screen (above left), External stone cladding Adjacent to internal timber lining (above middle),
Internal timber Barn library wall (above right)
External spaces are immediately adjacent to the barn – orientated to give shelter from various wind directions, catch the afternoon or morning sun and present the primary view out to the North.
External lounge and pool space facing the primary view (above left),
Court at entry, view to fruit orchards, (above right)
The roof lights over the barn, bringing in soft south light into the volume also support solar panels. Water retention, and waste treatment were integral to the brief and have been integrated into various storage tanks and reservoirs under the house.