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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

House Fern in Johannesburg, South Africa by Nico van der Meulen Architects

 
May 10th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Nico van der Meulen Architects

This residence in a leafy Johannesburg suburb was designed by Nico van der Meulen, founder of Nico van der Meulen Architects in 1986, on a 2000sq.m sub-division and completed in 1987 for his family, but also to use as his studio, as at that time he just started his own practice and decided to work from his home.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Nico designed the house facing 15 degrees east of north, with 660mm. thick north facing walls, to create mass to store heat and sun control. Clay tiles were used over the concrete roofs to insulate it and protect the waterproofing against the sun, while all the floors were insulated from the soil.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Five atria were incorporated into the design, with an existing deciduous tree retained in the one atrium to act as an umbrella over the house, with a large water feature to help cool the house in summer.  In another a fast growing palm tree indigenous to South Africa was planted, with groundcovers to act as natural cooling agents, and black bamboo screens two of the other atria.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

The open plan living area incorporates a double volume family room with a water feature and leading onto the lanai and the oversized pool. The breakfast room act as the pivot for this area, situated between the kitchen, family room, dining room and lanai. The kitchen was designed with a large east facing window, shaded in summer by a deciduous tree.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

During winter every habitable room in the house gets north sun through a total of twenty six sliding and pivot glass doors on the north side and this resulted in a passive building where air conditioning or heating is hardly necessary.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

During summer the house is cooled through cross ventilation wafting over koi ponds and the swimming pool with the cool soil under the plants.The four bedrooms are all en-suite, but the house was designed with a separate wing on the west side of the hall for the three children while the main suite with his and her dressing rooms and sunny, airy bathroom is on the north and east side. The double shower was designed that you can shower in sunshine, overlooking the gardens.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

On the second floor on top of the main suite and gymnasium two private studios were built, one for Santa to paint and another where Nico sits and designs at night and weekends.The studio area is fitted with a kitchenette and a lounge area overlooking the gardens. A fire-pit on the balcony next to Nico’s study and the al fresco dining area next to Santa’s studio are regularly used.The downstairs studio area has its own side entrance enabling staff and clients to enter without going into the private residence.

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

Image Courtesy Nico van der Meulen Architects

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Categories: House, Residential, Studio

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