location: Hawaan Forest Estate, Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal | architecture: Kevin Lloyd Architects with client | interior design: KLA Architects; client and Baronie Pretorius of Urban Fabric Interior Design | contractor: R and I Construction | photography: Peter Oravecz – podStudio
On a consolidation of two sites which span 2 067 square metres in the prestigious residential estate of Hawaan, this new home measures just over 1 000 square metres. Hawaan comprises a total of 173 single residential sites of similar size, almost all of which are now completed. This example has been designed in the contemporary style with minimum applied decoration, open-plan living and substantial areas of glass to introduce light and air.
Originally an ancient sugar estate, this land was subsequently owned by the Durban Country Club before being sold to Hawaan Investments. It comprises 64 hectares and, where properties are strategically placed, affords corridor views of the ocean and neighbouring dune forest.
Says architect Kevin Lloyd: ‘The original brief was to design a home for a professional couple with a young child, plus an integrated small flatlet. The design was completed with Estate approval, after which the clients decided to opt for a single-family home with the same external design; this resulted in more space available within the building envelope.’
The initial challenge was the entrance to the house as the public living zones were requested to be placed on the ground floor to interact with the garden. Thus, access from the narrow panhandle entrance was required to pass the private bedroom zones on the first floor where advantage could be taken of the ocean views. The size of the house and the site’s location and prominence challenged the Estate requirement for low key architecture.
Architect Kevin Lloyd recalls: ‘Maximum building envelope height had to follow the original natural ground slope, meaning that a build with a large footprint could have restricted roof height in the far corners of the plan. Hence the plan is a series of long, horizontal forms running across and stepping down the site. Concrete slab roofs ensure a minimum height would not be lost in roof space.
‘The top storey’s maximum width in accordance with the guidelines may not be more than 50 percent of the width of the site and not more than 50 percent of the area of the lower floor. These challenges required making maximum use of the top floor where sea views exist; hence the choice to place the living areas on the ground floor and services / garages in the basement. These planning restrictions are the Estate’s guidelines for protecting the neighbours’ view lines.’
The design was conceptualised as a series of three blocks on the lower level running horizontally across the width of the site, following the contours. The lengths varied and the spaces in between formed courtyards allowing in sun, light and air. On the floor above the rear, blocks were repeated, but not to the full-width extent because of the planning and height restriction. The horizontal forms were bound together with the circulation spine containing the recessed covered entrance, entrance hall, staircase volume and part of the corridor space. The spine was expressed as a dominant element by means of height, form, finish and colour.
On practical completion, the client together with the interior designer revised certain ceiling bulkheads in rooms, but these did add to the final success of the aesthetic. Décor detailing was a collaboration between the client and interior designer. As the clients travel extensively and visit leading hotels globally, they wanted to create a boutique hotel feel within their own personal space.
A range of complementary greys was chosen to match colours similar to concrete on the plastered walls and weathered timber cladding. They are a foil for very light floor tiles, dark grey steel elements and aluminium window /door frames and the dark textured spine wall.
The concept and final building rely on the use of strong, clean intersecting lines and planes extending in a dominant horizontal profile, punctuated occasionally with vertical structures and elements to support and bookend the extending forms. The roofscape was planted with grasses and hard landscaped with specifically selected round pebbles.
Says Kevin Lloyd: ‘We achieved an overall successful project and, as a project team, are proud of the end product and a building process which was completed timeously, fairly and amicably. The result is a family home of high quality insofar as design, construction, finish and décor.’