on a site 10km east of dullstroom in south africa, amid a majestic landscape of rolling hills and misty horizons, w design architecture studio has realized a residential project called ‘unfolding the land.’ as the name implies, the weekend house has been created around the concept of merging it with the surroundings, fusing human with nature in one architectural expression.
all images © DOOK for VISI
when developing the project, the architects strived to harness the owners’ penchant for frank lloyd wright and his prairie style of open living spaces. therefore, the starting point of the design came from the natural elements of the site, such as the gentle slope towards the river, the various dams and lakes on the eastern boundary, and the impressive views onto the valley beyond. the inspiration found in ‘the great outdoors’, and the desire to escape from a busy urban life, were used and celebrated to shape the weekend home.
the ‘liberated’ barn-like living room structure references back to the farm vernacular
the architectural form consists, essentially, out of a ‘liberated’ barn-like living room structure and two native stonework boxes that house the bedrooms. the playful philosophy of ‘lifting the carpet’ of the natural veldgrass and placing the bedrooms underneath ensures that these ‘above ground, earth covered structures’ provide the cosy shelter associated with a mountain cottage while still affording a contemporary architecture with connections to the landscape from all areas of the home.
a glazed façade maximizes light from the north and east
all the functions are positioned along the natural contours of the site, keeping the built form as low as possible and in effect allowing the landscape to eventually cover and merge with the man made forms. the absolute focus for these spaces, part building, part landscape, is to celebrate and be aware of the fantastic natural surroundings and views. as the indigenous vegetation and natural beauty recovers over the next few summer seasons this home will be allowed to seamlessly adapt and fuse with its natural habitat.
views feature on three sides of the ‘open’ barn structure
the interior is minimal but comfortable, with little to distract from the location
inside, there’s a sense of openness that brings tranquility to the space
the main bathroom opens out onto a north-facing lightwell that also functions as a private courtyard
the open terrace connects onto the boma and ‘the great outdoors’
set back into the slope and with green roofs, the native stone clad bedroom structures have an intimate connection with the landscape
the design aims to unite the house with nature
this is not a building that needs to be looked at, but rather a place to look out from
thanks to chromadek metal sheeting, stone sourced from the site and a low profile, the house remains inconspicuous
unfolding the land: concept sketch and ideas
project name: unfolding the land
location: walkersons farm, dullstroom, south africa
design: w design architecture studio
photography: DOOK for VISI
edited by: lynne myers | designboom
architecture in south africa (38 articles)
barn architecture (35 articles)
residential architecture and interiors (1300 articles)
w design architecture studio (5 articles)
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