Avant-Garde Farm House
The House labelled Avant-Garde Farm House by print media is a contemporary interpretation of the classic Farm house. The house is situated in Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, Johannesburg and received a “Highly Commended” award from the International Property Awards held in 2015 in Dubai.
Project Type: Single Residential Architecture
Architectural Style: Contemporary Farm House
Location: Serengeti Estate, Gauteng, South Africa
The property was a vacant stand with only one existing neighbouring house across the road. The client approached Gottsmann Architects and asked the firm to design a contemporary house with a South African identity. The design had to respond to the local vernacular, the climate and to the future development of prospective neighbouring houses. We were asked to place emphasis on horizontality and simple forms.
Gottsmann Architects approached the brief and sought out to design a contemporary farm style home which offered all the necessities for a modern family home. The design was to be simple in form with emphasis on horizontality. The house was to respond to both street facades while creating a generous size private garden protected from the street. North facing rooms with views to the golf course together with the use of double glazing allowed well lit and thermally comfortable spaces in which to live. The interior was where much of the modern design was ultimately revealed. Clean lines offset by a simple juxtaposition of materials, textures and natural colours were offset against simple planes of white as a canvas.
Gottsmann Architects set out to design a sleek modern interior with a vibrant yet non-commanding dialogue between the various materials and textures. The natural wood brought back elements of nature into the interior of the house while the spacing of such elements created a rhythm.
One problem which presented itself to the design was the fact that the majority or surrounding stands were vacant with only one neighbouring building across the street. The design had to respond to the future development of prospective neighbouring houses. We thus had to analyse the adjacent sites and try to predetermine the layout of the neighbouring buildings.
The brief required a family home with a large open private garden. The house is divided into two levels. The top level accommodates the main bedroom with en-suite open plan dresser and bathroom. There are two other children’s bedrooms each with an ensuite bathroom. The ground floor consists of a front entrance foyer from which the main circulation germinates. Three garages open into the foyer. The open plan living area consists of a kitchen with large island looking over a dining room and to the lounge. The scullery is concealed behind the kitchen and is discretely accessed through a door guised as a kitchen cupboard. The lounge and the dining area are flanked by large sliding doors which allow cross ventilation through the house. The cavity sliding doors open entirely onto a large undercover patio leading to the private garden. Additional guest room with ensuite bathroom offers additional accommodation for the weekend guests while a multifunctional room was introduced adjacent the kitchen and entertainment area and overlooked the garden. The multifunctional room allowed the client to use it as study, TV room or even entertainment room for billiards. Inspiration was drawn from the South African context and the landscape, which was merged with a modern application of the simple forms and materials. The design of traditional farm houses inspired the simple forms with the design responding to the local climate.
The staircase is a celebration of a pure and simplistic design revealed through the use of two distinct materials. The lower steps are composed of a solid form made of concrete, while a suspended timber staircase dissects two planar walls with a simple handrail leading the user to the first floor. The use of timber screens on street level offered privacy to the house while provided screening from the sun. Passive design ideas were incorporated to minimise the need for mechanical ventilation. Cross ventilation allows the house to remain cool in the summer while promoting a healthy environment in which to live. LED lighting together with heat pumps was used to reduce the energy demand of the house. The aim was to produce a design of harmonious composition merging traditional context with the modern.
The design was to be memorable but not superficial, simplistic but not mundane.
Photography: Reinier Harmse (RH.Photographix)
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