This project was an alteration and addition to a heritage Cape Dutch style house on the Westcliff ridge. Sensitivity to the heritage of the existing house and the area was a major consideration in the design concept. The additions and alterations have been designed to be very modern and aesthetically distinct from the existing house, in order to maintain the architectural integrity of the existing house. While the existing house has remained white, in keeping with the Cape Dutch style, the additions are black in order to visually blend into the ridge when viewed from a distance, while contrasting with the existing architecture.
The existing house was opened up inside and converted into a light, bright living area, with expansive frameless glass folding stacking doors on the north side. Below this, a new level which houses the bedrooms and a gym has been added. The roof of the bedroom level has been planted with grass in order to serve as an expansive, level lawn leading off from the living area. A new covered patio area has been built at the end of the lawn, and a rim flow pool has been built at the northern edge of the lawn, overlooking the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. The lawn is surrounded by frameless glass balustrades in order to optimise the view from the living area.
The front of the bedroom level structure is stepped in plan so that each room has glass sliding doors on the north and west sides. When these floor to ceiling glass doors are slid open, the north west corner of the room is completely open, allowing for uninterrupted views. All of the rooms open out onto a timber deck with frameless glass balustrades, and aluminium louvers above, which have been designed to shade the glass in order to prevent solar heat gain in summer, and admit sunlight into the rooms in winter. The decks are framed by a visually light steel structure, with steel columns at the corners which drop into the ridge as stilts. This, and the light, transparent structure, gives the visual impression that the bedroom level is floating above the ridge, or 'touching the earth lightly'.