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

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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 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

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