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.
A SOUTH AFRICAN HOME FOR ART in GROENKLOOF, PRETORIA by MELLET & HUMAN ARCHITECTS
November 23rd, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: MELLET & HUMAN ARCHITECTS
Mellet & Human Architects, based in Pretoria, received awards of Merit and Excellence from the South African Institute of Architects in 2012 for the design of “A South African Home for Art” situated inGroenkloof. Recently the office was in Dubai to receive a prestigious African Property Award for the design. This award for Best Architecture Single Residence South Africa, forms part of the global International Property Awards, the world’s richest competition when measured by the value of projects entered.
Judges had the following to say in their citation on the design:
“This house conceptually infuses an art and sculpture gallery into a residential dwelling. By taking advantage of the spectacular views surrounding the site, whilst humbly confining itself to an untamed slope of the property, the house becomes a showpiece of unlimited visually captivating site lines. It is often the case that homes of art collectors are austere with disproportionate interior volumes; a notion turned onto its head by this residential building as it evokes a down-to-earth ambiance within well-proportioned indoor spaces”.
The clients wanted to move from their existing bighouse into a smaller new house on a subdivided part of the property. The brief was challenging: it was very steep, small site on which the clients wanted a house with all living areas on one level; existing trees had to be kept, and although the house had to be smaller, it had to accommodate a very extensive art collection of pictures and sculptures.Furthermore views from the existing house at the back had to be retained.
The property was terraced in order to provide living areas on one level with garages below. The design resulted in a house which is like a high level penthouse absorbing the unobstructed views of Pretoria, positioned between the dense foliage.Accommodation consists of three bedrooms and bathrooms, and open plan living and kitchen areas leading onto a pool deck.
The linear plan provides all living areas and bedrooms north of a gallery. This gallery is circulation space as well as exhibition space for art. Clerestory windows ensure the house is extensively flooded with natural light. Glass sliding doors lead onto the covered patio and wooden pool deck where bronze sculptures by Ruan Janse Van Rensburg anchor the view.
Warmth and an intimate atmosphere are created by the choice of materials for the interior and exterior. Moving through the building you are constantly aware of the inside and outside. This building essentially becomes part of the hill. Sensitivity towards the environment is emphasized through the use of solar energy for running lights, the pool, fountains, and household appliances and under floor heating, while gas is used for cooking. Maximizing natural light during daytime hours further reduces the need for artificial light.
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