This compact family house was built on a 90sqm plot located just outside the urban conservation zone of the de Waterkant area in Cape Town. The historic context of the suburb consists of narrow semi-detached row houses dating from the 17th century, which together form a streetscape of a continuous wall of buildings, with the stepped parapet roofs and façade colours creating variation.
As the site had an unusually long street frontage for the context, it was decided to visually split the building mass into three separate volumes, varying and stepping the roof lines of each. One house becomes three, an abstraction of the suburb’s characteristic vernacular.
In turn, the façade treatment impacted the internal arrangement, with the program being stacked into three distinct zones. The three identical bedrooms were stacked on top of each other to form one zone; garage, living areas and roof terrace form another; while the central zone contains the vertical circulation of the house.
This central zone is what best characterises the house. The staircase wraps around a triple storey atrium, which contains an internal garden at its base and is crowned by a large skylight above. The journey up begins at the entrance to the house, which opens to the planted courtyard and culminates with an open roof terrace and pool with views over the harbour toward the ocean.