"The conceptual approach to the design was to reinstate the qualities of a natural landscape,' says architect Phillippe Fouché of South African architectural firm SAOTA, who led the project.
The lower part of the building, an independent apartment, is then expressed as ‘a heavy stone plinth’, its gabion-walled exterior and cocooning interior of dark-stained oak and off shutter concrete reflecting the strata of the mountainside out of which they emerge.
On top of this is a transitional space that is expressed as a green terrace and braai area, representative of what would have been the landscape’s foliage level.
All levels of the house are connected via a sculptural timber staircase, like a folded ribbon that, appropriate to the home’s design narrative, gradually lightens in tone as it rises.
A vertically slatted box hovers over the terrace, allowing the forest bush willow trees below to grow into this level, with screens that can be opened or closed to adjust the amount of natural light filtering into the interior, ‘as if you were sitting in the shade of a large tree’.
The structure was engineered from a durable yet lightweight aluminium in a finish that mimics the different tones of bark, a durable solution to weathering Cape Town’s capricious seasons.