Cape Town, South Africa 2022
Nestled on the slopes of Signal Hill this residential property was designed to make the most of its ideal perched positioning with uninterrupted views over Cape Town’s magnificent Atlantic Seaboard. The use of natural materials, tones and textures combined with lush landscaping echoes the surrounding mountains and create a tranquil retreat from which to admire the city below. Similarly, the interior design and detailing follows this pursuit for simplicity and serenity. The interior decoration features exquisite hand-crafted pieces and timeless antiques which beautifully consolidates the design ethos of the project.
Architecture & Interior Concept: Studio JVW
Architecture: VDHDW Architects
Entry from the lower level of this site to the upper terraces gradually reveals this house situated on the lower slopes of Signal Hill. The house is a simple assembly of spaces arranged on three levels and designed around clearly defined daily experiences and domestic rituals. Horizontal floor and roof planes extend beyond the vertical divisions and end with abrupt floating edges. The essence of the design is a confluence of this: the boundlessness of views unique to the topography, contrasted with the intimacy that domesticity and the creation of refuge can offer.
The interior architecture similarly follows the pursuit of this enlivening contrast. It relies equally on the absolute simplicity of layout as it does the hyper detailed resolution of the various elements in meeting. This exaggerated expression of geometry and simplicity serves to reflect and showcase the life inherent in the materials and the context within and around it: the movement of light; the self-directed growth of indoor gardens; the graded warmth of the sun; the markings of timber and stone; the freshness of air moving through; and finally the everpresent atlantic ocean in the distance. Life within is always in direct conversation with life outside.
The social accommodation in the house was determined by the requirements and opportunities for private as well highly social experiences. This prioritised the position of bedrooms on the upper level that benefit from the use of small intimate courtyards to create an almost indeterminate threshold between inside and outside. The connecting floating stair becomes a light shaft and indoor garden, a sculptural expression of the relationship between the contrasting geometricity of the house and its uninhibited natural environment. The mid level living spaces are situated on the garden level where the wide openings and extended floor slabs enable sociability on a variety of scales, always drawing on the vitality born from this new relationship created between the larger geography, and the equally vast internality.
Text by Cilna de Waal