The Organic House
This north-facing site slopes steeply towards the stream that forms its western boundary, and a dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain rises majestically through a veil of Oak trees dotting this Bishopscourt garden.
Waterfalls cascade down the mountain and pixies certainly abound! A magical setting that demands a naturalistic response from the architecture.
The futuristic architecture of Californian architect John Lautner was a surprising early touchstone for this ambitious family home in the conservative suburb of Bishop’s Court. Indeed, the client’s brief for a totally curved house was a direct reaction against the typical orthogonal cliffhangers of Clifton in which they had lived, and a radical departure from the norm was requested, including solar heating and a generally passive approach to thermal comfort.
A diagrammatic process that tried to establish common ground between the two spouses’ requirements ensued. We then extracted the idea of the space between two sets of splines and based the final design on the notion of overlapping splines that created interior and exterior spaces.
The architectural concept of splines and continuous form explores the itinerant spaces between the undulating bronze glass versus the Balau screen, and the resulting double volumes, overlapping spaces and crescent shaped balconies.
The final building form is structured by the placement of two bathroom cores servicing the master bedroom and children’s bedrooms, which have been cupped, not unlike a brassiere, by a sinuous screen of Balau timber, and connected together with a timber-clad bridge – the bra-strap. The bridge frames the view on arrival, and is accessed by a baroque terrazzo staircase, rising above a backlit onyx bar.
A curvaceous terrazzo staircase wraps around the backlit onxy bar with sunken lounge beyond.
The sunken lounge encloses a suspended fireplace.
Insect repellant natural camphor wood is the chosen timber for the interior panelling and joinery within the home.
Our decision to use curves only in plan, and not in section, has delivered a crisp modernity to an otherwise organic experience. Interior finishes such as ivory quartzite, beech and camphor are a warm counterpoint to the off-shutter concrete roof. Complete with every conceivable modern convenience, a warm, soft, family home has been born, a place to raise children in a soft, comforting womb-like environment.
Architects - soundspacedesign
Interiors - soundspacedesign
Photography - Dave Southwood.