This project deconstructs the clients’ brief for an impenetrable courtyard-fortress in order to address omnipresent security concerns without creating a domestic prison.
Our challenge was thus to re-interpret the urban courtyard typology in an open landscape. In so doing the house was split into two wings shaped by inserting additional loft levels under the roofs. A pool on the highest side of the courtyard forms a secure edge or ‘moat’, opening up the northern side of the court to the view and sun. Large windows and doors open the house into the courtyard while narrow slot windows on the outside ground floor serve as a reminder of our clients’ initial brief. Cranked metal screens and the bulk of the bedroom wing shelter the courtyard and living spaces from the prevailing west wind.
The simple roofs facilitate rainwater collection (for on-site agriculture) while echoing the distant undulations of Highveld ridges, tying the house to the landscape in a gentle and unexpected manner.
Project team: Thorsten Deckler, Anne Graupner, Kiran Paras, Sue Groenewald
Featured in Architecture South Africa May/ June 2007