Overview

Located in an upmarket suburb of Pretoria, and overlooking the Menlyn shopping centre and neighbouring residential areas, this private residence commands the koppie it is sited on.

The challenge was to design a residence with complete flexibility of space and the ability to re-organize the interior functions, including the position of the bathrooms. The client brief demanded a high level of privacy from the neighbouring sites and the access street, which is the highest point of the site, sloping over 9 meters east to west.

AOJ’s approach to the design of the residence was completely pragmatic, it started by defining the project programme, then identifying the site restrictions and finally the primary client requirements. The programme was interpreted as massing blocks, sized in terms of floor areas, and layered vertically to deal with privacy. These massing blocks were then perforated to optimise natural solar exposure in the building and to allow views toward the west. The orientation of these blocks was then further refined to improve on these aspects.

The result is three blocks stacked on the topography of the site, overlapping where shading and rain cover are necessary, and peeling away where views and natural heat gain are desired, creating an impression of volumes delicately balanced over one another.

To accommodate flexibility of space the design makes use of vertical and horizontal ducts spread over all the floors of the residence and accessible at strategic points.

The building was originally envisioned as an off shutter concrete structure but due to budget constraints it was realised as a concrete frame with masonry infill.

The use of monochromatic colours on the exterior further differentiates the three main volumes, and reinforces this architectural language clearly dictated by function.

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Date

October 4, 2014

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