Perched high above Cape Town, what started out as an interesting idea to revision a dated house on a dazzling
site evolved into an ambitious, dramatic reinvention of the spaces and the living experience that is as inspired as it is unexpected
What existed on the site was an ordinary building over two levels,’ explains architect greg Truen of saota, who designed the home. however, as construction work commenced it would become evident that the original structure had room for improvement that would take the project in a new direction. Today the house is configured over three levels: the first accommodates public spaces (living areas, kitchen, pool deck), the second is a mix of en suite bedrooms and a study and library and, on the third floor, guest rooms, a gym and a home cinema.
‘The key thing about this house is, of course, its setting,’ says greg, whose first mandate was to maximise the views and immerse the home in its natural surroundings. he would achieve this in two key ways.
First, by reconfiguring the upper two levels with north and south-facing glass façades, views of the city and surrounding mountains are now positioned front and centre. extending these levels to include garden decks that merge into the surrounding flora completed the immersive effect. ‘now it feels like the garden continues infinitely,’ he says. Two open courtyards were also introduced. The resulting architecture – glass-clad slabs floating over a glittering cityscape – is a rectilinear expression of open cubes prostrating itself in the presence of nature.
his second design move was the completely new engineering of what is certainly the house’s most striking feature, an inverted pyramid roof structure that dominates the entire upper-level ceiling, clad in a glass box. By lifting the original hipped roof on three sides the homeowners are now afforded views of Table Mountain and the harbour in front and Lions head and signal hill behind.
From street level there is an unmistakable intrigue to the building. From behind a stone wall built with the same materials and profile as old cape-style masonwork that is still visible in the harbour breakwater walls, the roof appears to be a giant ‘light box’ with the immense oak-clad pyramid pointing downwards. These are the first of several plays to prepare you for entry and traversing the threshold between the street and the quiet interior of the home. From the gate that leads you not on an obvious route to the patinated brass front door past the
intimate courtyard with delicate-leafed Leopard trees and, finally, around the corner – the showstopping reveal – views that stretch from robben Island to helshoogte.
Big, open-plan spaces need furniture planned and designed to fill those spaces. and so the pieces, many from okha, oversized and organic in form, were used to not only create a sense of comfort but also to demarcate living zones. Take the circular sofa, its shape allows for easy views of the harbour and mountains, whereas the adjacent Z-shaped sofa is ideal for curling up in front of the TV.
‘The interior design is constantly being refined, it’s not a formulaic process of dressing but of providing progressive points of experience,’ says the homeowner, who initially opted for pale tones that would not distract from the architecture or views but later realised that the spaces needed punctuation so introduced colour. subtle mineral tones of oxide red, flint grey and verdite green echo the surroundings. Texture becomes an antidote to the smoothness of the architectural environment with chunky Karoo mohair rugs, an abundance of copper and brass cladding and a large collection of modern art.
and yes, despite its ingenious architectural power plays and its high-comfort appointment, the home never loses sight of its goal: to champion its surroundings. ‘You sit in these spaces looking at how extraordinary your connection is with the city, the mountain and the people below,’ says the homeowner. In every way they too have also become a part of this place. SAOTA 8 saota.com n
The entrance vista articulated on several floor levels, a powerfully structured ceiling and stone, concrete and wood Textures created a compelling arrival space opposite page dining and kitchen areas with The inverted pyramid ceiling showing lions head Through The glass clerestory