Pi­eter Malan of Malan Vorster Ar­chi­tec­ture In­te­rior De­sign tells us about what makes this home unique

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Elle Decoration Promotion - TREE­HOUSE- STYLE LIV­ING

What mo­ti­vated the tree­house de­sign?

The owner, Gra­ham, was in­spired by the wood­land lo­ca­tion, and by a book that he’d re­cently read about tree­houses. He com­mis­sioned us to cre­ate an ar­chi­tec­tural in­ter­pre­ta­tion of this for him. The de­sign we came up with blends into its set­ting. Why does the house stand on stilts? We didn’t want it sit on the ground in the way that or­di­nary build­ings do; we wanted it to float among the trees, so we used these very light and slim Corten steel legs to lift the house up amongst the leaves and branches.

Why is the main liv­ing area cylin­dri­cal?

The plat­form upon which the liv­ing room perches gives it a nest-like feel. The house had to feel nat­u­ral and or­ganic and the cir­cu­lar shape of the liv­ing space helped us achieve that. What kind of glaz­ing is used? The house is sin­gle-glazed with so­lar re­flec­tive glass. We’re lucky here in that we don’t have se­vere win­ters, so we didn’t need dou­ble-glaz­ing. We did, how­ever, need to min­imise the weight of the build­ing, and glaz­ing is quite heavy, so that played a part in the fi­nal de­ci­sion on the glass. Is this an eco house? The hot water comes from a ground source heat pump [a sys­tem of pipes that bring warmth from un­der­ground to be used as a do­mes­tic heat source], but eco­log­i­cal is­sues weren’t the pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion here. The build­ing is de­signed to age nat­u­rally. The wood and steel won’t re­quire much main­te­nance – they’ll get more beau­ti­ful as they weather over the years.

Tell us about the be­spoke pieces in the house.

The stair­case was one of the trick­i­est el­e­ments to in­stall. It has a lot of com­plex shapes and de­tails, and the curved tim­ber handrail was en­tirely hand­made on site. The bed and head­board were also crafted in Cape Town and de­signed specif­i­cally to work with the build­ing. One of the nicest things about this project is that so many pieces were hand­crafted. It was a labour of love for all the peo­ple who worked on it. malan­

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