WORDS Amelia Brown IMAGES Niel Vosloo
Strong geometry, clean lines and contemporary finishes help GSquared Architects redefine the traditional beach house vernacular with this home in Melkbos on Cape Town’s West Coast.
The position is quite something. Touching the dunes of Riebeekstrand, the plot boasts unobstructed panoramic sea views towards Robben Island and Table Mountain. The challenge for architect Renato Graca and his team at GSquared Architects was to maximise these views and meet the clients’ brief for a spacious, light-filled home while maintaining privacy.
“The design concept was the result of different layers taken from the site: nature, light, context and the clients’ brief,” Renato explains. “These different elements were combined to create a strong visual and physical connection to the landscape.”
Glass establishes a relationship with the surroundings and enables sunlight to flood the rooms whatever the season. Sliding and bifold doors allow this transparent skin to be peeled back, creating an easy indoor-outdoor flow and a sense of connection to the sea, whether you’re on the deck or in the kitchen.
Stone, concrete and timber are the raw finishes chosen to offset the polish of glass, chrome and smooth, white plaster. As well as setting a key architectural aesthetic, timber louvres, sliding screens and a cantilever awning filter the light beautifully and provide privacy.
The interiors are minimalist with a restrained palette softened by warm timber. Nothing is in conflict. Instead the architecture and its relationship to the surroundings is the focus. The louvre design is echoed internally with a timber screen in the entrance. Discrete modern light fittings illuminate the space, highlight or accent architectural features – such as the floating timber staircase – or transform a wall into a canvas.