frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
 

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve

frankie pappas, a collaborative architecture and design studio, has completed an off-grid brick residence within a nature reserve in south africa’s waterberg mountains. designed for an elderly couple with a deep love of the natural world, ‘house of the big arch’ is just 3.3 meters (11 feet) wide. the narrow home threads itself between the trees that occupy the site — preserving the landscape while becoming part of it.

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

 

 

‘the underlying concept was to bridge the landscape between riverine forest and sandstone cliff, whilst raising the living space into the tree canopy, among the abundant arboreal life,’ says frankie pappas. ‘the building is organized as one long thin building which slots between the forest trees. the shapes of the additions to the central building are dictated by the position and size of the surrounding trees.’

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © frankie pappas

 

 

the home offers animals, plants, and humans equal opportunity to find shelter, with not a single tree removed during the project’s construction. ‘in order to further ensure that no tree would be harmed, we laser-scanned the entire site,’ the design team explains. ‘we then converted this information into a digital 3D model so that we could see every tree and every branch when making critical design decisions. we were in essence designing this building in a digital forest.’

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

 

 

the house’s uppermost storey includes a planted courtyard, a reclusive lounge, a sunlit dining room, and a farmhouse kitchen and scullery. outdoors meanwhile, a tree-shaded deck features a small pool and fireplace – around which most of the cooking and living occurs. the ground floor provides additional courtyards as well as a study, a library, and a small swing bench. finally, on the lower level, the cellar offers a climate conducive to curing meats, storing food supplies, and aging wines

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

 

 

to connect the building with the landscape, rough stock bricks were chosen for the house’s construction. other parts of the home have been built from sustainably-grown timbers, while glass and aluminum fill in the non-structural wall. to ensure that the house can function off-grid, water from the roofs is collected and filtered through the forest, while greywater is stored and processed before being filtered by the undergrowth.

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © frankie pappas

 

 

in addition, energy is harvested by 16 square meters (172 square feet) of solar panels. however, the architects stress that the most important environmental factor is how the architecture works with its setting to create shade and natural ventilation — reducing energy demands.

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

frankie-pappas-house-of-the-big-arch-waterberg-south-africa-designboom-1800c

image © frankie pappas

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © frankie pappas

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

frankie pappas hides off-grid brick house within south africa nature reserve
image © dook + VISI

 

 

video © frankie pappas

 

 

project info:

 

name: house of the big arch
location: waterberg , south africa
architect: frankie pappas
project size: 120 sqm / 1,292 sqf
site size: 55,000,000 sqm / 13,591 acres
building levels: 3
completion date: 2020

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