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Blog | Date: June 6, 2017

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Laboratorium Architects


Project Architects:

Cobus Bothma

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HCvR

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Pretoria Institute for Architecture
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In this series of interconnected alterations, the old and new are seamlessly integrated. A number of insertions, additions and interventions transform the experience of this home, both as an interior and as a landscape. The original cellular and introverted first floor was demolished and replaced by a single volume which is defined by a modular frame and is interspersed with banks of bespoke cabinetry, defining individual areas of activity. This volume reorganises the irregular ground floor plan of the existing house and creates links to the outside. On ground floor, this link to the outside is the new pool terrace, and on first floor, a spacious new covered patio which reveals breathtaking views over the city.

The new elements – the bar, staircase, pool terrace, and first floor – are crafted in a rich palette of warmly-textured timbers, wool carpets, and brass fixtures, resulting in a number of luxurious hide-aways. The roof is conceived as a simple, single pitch sitting low over the new first floor volume where it acts as a visor, keeping the sun out while letting the spectacular view in. In contrast with the traditional masonry construction of the existing ground floor, this addition presents innovative use of a lightweight steel structure. The exterior is clad in steel sheeting and the envelope is well insulated, resulting in a comfortable interior space.

The site itself is interspersed with a number of associated interventions. A second rectangular mass to the west of the main house, contains the studio and apartment. Steel canopies over entrances to the site and the existing ground floor are articulated in a similar language which unifies them and recasts the house in a contemporary idiom.

This design could be considered for an award based on its thoughtful balance of the optimistic character of modernism – rational, utilitarian and technologically driven – with sensory luxury and material generosity.

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