The weather in the Philippines was very unpredictable and it was crucial to complete the roof once and for all. I was on Christmas holiday when we started working on it. Some change in plan was consider like including covering the slab above the garage to provide a den, an extra room for guest, a TV room or study room as our previous one will be used as bedroom for one of the boys. I left the country without finishing the work. Eventually, a roof over my family’s head were screwed and riveted in place.
Since my family lived in here during the whole duration of construction, the architect came up with programme, doing the whole house in four (4) phases. He prepared plan for each phase starting with the master bedroom with walk-in closet and ensuite bath (Ph1 – The Masters); the laundry, service kitchen, maid’s quarter with T&B, formal kitchen, dining and common T&B for the kids (Ph2 – The Service Area); the living room and the courtyard/airwell (Ph3 – The Front Room) and the kid’s rooms and the den (Ph4 – For the kids). We did not include works in the facade (The Envelope) and the apartment at the back (For Rent – Back of the House).
(To be continued…)
This new residential dwelling is situated in Swellendam at the door-step of the breathtaking mountains and valleys of Langeberg Mountains – a view so magnificent that the locals have named it “God’s Window.” It was because of this exquisite setting that simple forms and materials were chosen for the architecture, in order to facilitate a subtle intervention – to “lie gently” on the landscape. The buildings were constructed using largely local textures and materials reminiscent of its distinctly Southern African origins. In addition to the architecture itself, efforts were made to make the house and the land itself more sustainable. For example, the land was cleared of non-native invading species, like the black wattle. Also, all the water used in the house is harvested from the site itself, and as a result there is no connection to the municipal water supply line, making the house self-sustaining from a water perspective.
The buildings that comprise the house, while simple in form and texture, are intentionally oriented on the site to engage the surroundings. The house is composed of three discrete box structures forming three edges of a private courtyard. The largest box form contains the public areas – the entertainment, living, and kitchen spaces. This box, with its glass façade and uplifted roof, opens itself up completely to its surrounding. In contrast, the smaller boxes, flanking to form either side of the courtyard, include the private domains of the bedroom and bathrooms, and on one side, a movie room. These buildings are made of thick masonry walls and concrete roofs, which form cave-like, intimate spaces where one can retreat for solitary quietude. The purposeful orientation of these three buildings as perimeters to a courtyard creates a spatial relationship with the mountains, which, in essence, form the last perimeter of the courtyard. Moreover, the structural and material qualities of these buildings, accentuated even further with the line of the main roof structure ascending towards the sky, is in direct dialogue with “God’s Window” – as if the earth were communing with the heavens. (GASS)
GASS, . (n.d.). Swellendam. Retrieved from http://www.gass.co.za/index.php/portfolio/swellendam/16