Pieter Malan of Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design tells us about what makes this home unique
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. malanvorster.co.za