location: Stellenbosch, Western Cape | architecture: Hugo Hamity | interior design: by owner | photography: Nicky Coetzee
This vacant plot on an estate in Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands measures 910 square metres. Architect Hugo Hamity was tasked with designing a contemporary family home that would meld sympathetically with the landscape and the ethos of this region. The resulting, imaginatively planned structure measures 455 square metres under roof.
The roofed areas are centred around an open courtyard with swimming pool, a location that enables uninterrupted views of the vineyard to the rear. Off this courtyard the internal circulation links the entrance with the open-plan living / kitchen area and the bedrooms at the end of the composition. All bedrooms are en suite.
Aesthetically, this is a modern interpretation of the Cape Dutch vernacular with white plastered walls and a black roof finish. The build also features a modern take on traditional chimneys.
Hugo Hamity recalls: ‘The family wanted a house that would connect with the exterior seamlessly without negatively affecting the privacy and security of the inhabitants. Prerequisites were that it had to be modern and minimalist with contrasting white and black tones.
‘Due to stand constraints, the build was planned around an open courtyard in order to provide a seamless, yet defined indoor / outdoor lifestyle. By conceptualising the plan in this manner, family members are able to enjoy the outside while remaining within the interior of the site.’
The client’s wish for a contemporary, minimalist style was largely achieved through the colour scheme of black and white. Further, a subtraction of the decorative aspects of the original Cape Dutch style took place, while ensuring the preservation and proportions of walls, roof pitches and room heights.
The architect recalls: ‘The strict guidelines and the west orientation of the main views from the site had to be considered. The former was tackled as described, while the latter was solved by adding a generous patio in front of the living area, allowing enough depth for the late afternoon sun not to be problematic.’
The chosen colour palette – part of the client’s brief – helped enable and coordinate this modern Cape Dutch signature. The courtyard concept is based on Roman architecture where living and sleeping areas are laid out around an atrium and pool. This open courtyard housing the pool, and surrounded by the corridors – which in turn are open and part of the living areas – is the major characteristic of this home.
The architect adds: ‘I wanted the house to be simple yet dramatic. The use of natural light was one of the main driving forces in the creative process; hence the open courtyard / pool proved to be the correct solution.’