House Sealion, by Greg Wright Architects, is located at the foot of the mountain on the Atlantic Seaboard of Cape Town, South Africa and was designed with the intention of an entertainment home. The site presented a challenge of making the mountain and the ocean integral parts of the experience of the home.
Privacy was an important issue, while trying to optimise on achieving maximum allowable height. The close proximity of the adjoining neighbours presented an opportunity to think differently about how to organise the building on the site. The resolution was to stack the building and optimise on height, by separating the main volumes by way of courtyard spaces – which offer an additional layer to the horizontal spatial relationships. Key to the clients brief was a primary relationship between the mountain and the ocean. This is central to the way one circulates through the central circulation spine that connects the two key volumes of the house. The internal courtyard at ground floor level and upper bedroom levels become integral extensions of the internal spaces.
Double volumes work to shift the spatial experience at the entrance and living levels where the mountain and ocean gain special emphasis respectively. The main staircase double volume opens onto a more intimate, water feature courtyard and extends towards the living area, the sliding doors in the living room and dining room slide away into cavity walls, which allows the living room and dining room to flow out onto the pool and BBQ terraces. The master bedroom, situated on the second floor level enjoys access to it own terrace, where the experience and relationship to the mountain backdrop and ocean below dominates.
The street edge is protected with splayed concrete walls with intentionally placed window openings from the master bedroom and study desk. The laser cut screens serve a dual purpose of security as well as the slick aesthetic contribution to the facade of the house. Being very sociable people and great hosts, the client needed both a home and a place to entertain and “share” the incredible natural beauty offered by the special location.
The minimalism of the interior finishes, creates a sense of calm, which is immediately contrasted by the bold and colourful decor. Bold and discreet lighting has been layered to evoke contrasting but complementary moods throughout the house.
The clients were extremely satisfied with the outcomes: “We are thrilled with the house that Greg Wright Architects have created for us. We set a challenging initial brief that included an ocean view from every single room in the house; quiet garden spaces, as well as a strong connection between inside and outside. We wanted to create a ‘journey’ through the house so people could appreciate both our art and the views. We have a strong focus on entertainment within the house, with the desire for all key needs to be on one single spacious level – this included the kitchen, scullery, wine cellar, dance floor, cinema, living room, gym, sauna, braai and swimming pool. Greg Wright Architects have definitely achieved our brief and helped create an amazing contemporary but yet cosy home with amazing views out of each section of the house.”
LOCATION: Fresnaye, Cape Town
ARCHITECTS: Greg Wright Architects
PROJECT TEAM: Greg Wright, Federico Pastor + Suzaan Swart
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Moroff + Kuhne
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Room To Grow
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: MFS Quantity Surveyors
CONSULTANTS/OTHER SPECIALISTS: Peacock Design – Samantha Scott
CONTRACTOR: PPR Construction
PHOTOGRAPHER: Adam Letch