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HIGHVELD HOUSE

Through a constructive dialogue with the pristine Highveld landscape of Johannesburg’s northern periphery, the question of identity is addressed without having to resort to style.

On approach the house’s two longitudinal forms can be seen in relationship to the landscape – their gently pitched roofs echo the gradual slopes of the surrounding hills. The two wings of the house define a terraced arrival court which obscures the main prospect. Only upon turning into the entrance hall does the view become visible. All the rooms, passages and social spaces align with views of the rolling Highveld grasslands, each engaging with the surrounding landscape through outdoor spaces, decks and terraces. The main house steps down the slope to the most secluded and intimate part of the property where the natural character of the site comes into prominence. Here the living spaces open onto a sheltered terrace leading to a long pool, allowing one to swim into the Highveld landscape. The building’s impact is reduced through the provision of photovoltaic cell and by means of big tanks which capture and store rainwater. A large space is provided for the planting and harvesting of organic vegetables, and the building’s precise orientation and solar screening ensure optimum heat gain and loss according to the seasons.

Carried out in collaboration with C76 Architecture

Project team: Thorsten Deckler, Anne Graupner, Nadine Naidoo, Guy Trangos, Stephen Reid