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House in Camps Bay, Cape Town
Architects: Luis Mira Architects
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 335 sqm
Photographs: Wieland Gleich, Luis Mira Architects
The house is used as a holiday home by a single person, who often invites guest to stay. So, it needed to be a space that could be used as a controlled studio with the feel of being open, as well as to be able to morph into private and individual spaces when the house is full of visitors. The privileged position of the land and the generous climate of Cape Town informed the design process with precision, as it would be an imperative client’s brief that called for ‘all rooms of the house with a sea view’. Our gaze is on the ‘geographical room’ of Camps Bay; the Atlantic Ocean, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain in the backdrop. The design intent is applied by framing views towards the sea (rooms) and opening up spaces (terraces) to look up at the mountains.
The concept rests on creating a subtle journey through the open spaces and through the interior that constantly glimpses at the landscape and merges within the Architecture that never reveals the entire building in one instant. In order to allow all rooms in the front of the house proximity to the sea, and to bring fresh air, light and circulation into the back of the house, two glass walled courtyards were introduced in the ground floor. One courtyard, built around the passage, connects the bedrooms; the other one is built inside the main bedroom as part of the en suite area. These two courtyards are reflective of sea views.
The use of neutral and natural materials is to respond to the desire of bringing the outdoors inside, achieved by contrasting the exuberant landscape with a ‘blank canvas’ (interior). This situation is potentiated by ‘peeling off’ the volume of the interior spaces towards north, towards the southern hemisphere sunlight. The ultimate concept of luxury is the constant extending and opening of the inside spaces to meet in full the unique and exquisite South African climate.