Breakwater Bay is part of the Brink eco estate, a piece of land raised high, but running into the Indian Ocean along a series of cliffs on this spectacular site. It features rare Fynbos species and wildlife that includes buck and birds of prey. From July to August whales can be seen close to shore and a nature trail extends along the coastline through the estate.
Here, concerted effort has been made to retain the indigenous environment. Stands are set out along large park-like areas of green belt in order to de-densify and post construction completion, the indigenous landscaped environment will be reinstated. Stands here measure around 3000 square metres and, in this case, the architects designed a house with a covered area of 650 square metres excluding open deck and entertainment areas; which follows strict estate guidelines.
The brief to the architect Nieuwoudt was to create a home that would be both a lock-up-and-go dwelling as well as providing comfortable accommodation for the owners and their guests. The couple commute between Johannesburg, Herolds bay and the Limpopo bushveld.
We wanted to utilize every positive feature of the site and there were many, but also to create comfort aligned with luxury in as many areas as possible for decoration. Furthermore to create different experiences in various parts of the house – open plan spaces as well as visual and physical links to the exterior – so that one is constantly aware of the surrounding nature. This was achieved by defragmenting and angling spaces on plan.
We wanted to maximize on modern light, in order to moderate the climate while retaining the southern views. The result is essentially a courtyard house where the main living spaces and the kitchen are arranged around the court, trapping the northern light and providing shelter against the windier seaboard on the south side. There is no loss of sea-views as all the accommodation faces the ocean. We also introduced a series of clerestory windows to further enhance the pay of light from both sides into all areas. The interior receives both early and late indirect light in various hues depending on the time of day; the entertainment areas on both the north and south sides enjoy the best of both worlds
The house is divided into three wings, which extend over the length of the site, deconstructing the bulk of the structure. Conceptually, a contained suite aligns with the lock-up-and-go maxim (a prerequisite on the second level) and there are separate smaller suites on the lower ground floor. Still functioning within a single structure, the suites are separately accessible with parking on both levels due to the fall of the land. This provides both owners and visitors with a sense of independence and privacy. This is a corner stand, which meant that a large part of the house is exposed to a public area and thus the risk of loss of privacy. The street only feeds a small number of other homes but the challenge for the architect was to keep the living areas private while not impeding the views from every angle.
We decided to locate the living areas on the higher level with the lower floor set back and raised just enough not to be visible from the road. From the main suite, the view extends vegetation and the street below is not perceived. The decision to place the entertainment area on the second level resulted in a free-standing pool raised one storey high but it was worth the effort. We needed to create a structure emphasizing light and dark definition, plus a covered area, so the second storey cantilevers over the first to reduce the scale of the façade further. The kitchen had to form the central hub without being obviously visible from the reception areas and this was achieved by creating its own wing, opening the service areas to berg winds and creating lots of feature wall space to the courtyard. The space enjoys direct northern green belt and southern ocean views and it can be opened up directly onto the northern court as well as onto a fire pit, a distance away from the house. Décor-wise the clients wanted a contemporary home of international standard. Yet this did not translate as overtly geometrical lines, an idea which we welcomed as it corresponded with our thoughts on the overall design of this specific stand. In this way we were able to create varying vistas from every interior space and provide good views from all the bathrooms. The contours also made for interesting contrasts by using perpendicular projecting elements such as the gazebo and entrance structure.