Three14 Architects square up in Cape Town with a mountainside house
Kim Benatar and Sian Fisher, co-founders of Three14 Architects, persuaded their client to demolish his home of ten years to create this calm, contemporary cuboid in Bantry Bay, Cape Town. In with the new! We say. Looking for an open-plan home that was elegant, yet easy, a peaceful backdrop to his routine and a space that would transform easily to entertain guests, their client made a brave decision, yet a life-changing one with House OVD525.
Using exposed off-shutter concrete, the architects created strong vertical flanking walls to define ‘voids’ of living space, then slotted in a series of horizontal slabs, which extend as platforms for the gardens, decks and pool.
‘The exaggerated thickness [of the concrete] provides a sense of privacy, containment and intimacy whilst creating a strong visual framing for the spectacular views beyond,’ says Fisher, principal architect at Three14, whose main challenge was to balance privacy and openness.
The house sits on a steep mountainside, looking out across views of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, Robben Island and into arresting ocean sunsets. The house responds in its form to the views, particularly with the master bedroom: ‘We worked very hard with our engineers to achieve the aggressive cantilever of the master bedroom suite which hovers over the external entertainment and pool area in order to capitalize on the views. From the living room, this is experienced as the planked concrete soffit stretches out towards the horizon,’ says Benatar, principal architect.
The architects designed the home to be open to the striking ocean views
The house is a contemporary contrast to the neighbouring architecture. From the street view, a double-layer of laser cut perforated aluminium sheeting, suspended over an entry forecourt below, can be seen, lightly shielding the house.
‘Locally, punched aluminium screening is not an unusual material, especially in the commercial realm, but is far less prevalent in the residential arena,’ says Fisher of the material, which acts as a smooth and speckled shell, protecting the serene environment within. ‘On the screen one can see the pixelated form of a tree, which was specifically selected, and held meaning to our client. This screened façade offers privacy from the street whilst allowing interesting light penetration over different times of day and glimpses out towards the mountain from the internal spaces behind.’