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Kloof, Durban - Concept

The Trumpet House

Q: What do you do when your client requests a house with no straight lines?

A: You custom design EVERYTHING....

This Bishops Court family home was embryonic in its formal conception - a place of comfort for raising a family in a mid-modern interior by SOUNDSPACEDESIGN Architects Sydney.

The futuristic architecture of Californian architect John Lautner was an 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.

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.


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 an almost womb-like environment.

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