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Mountain and Sea House
Noordhoek, Cape Town, Western Cape

People:

VISSER AND THOMAS ARCHITECTS: Architect


Date:2008
Client:Richard Bowsher and Monique Schiess
Type:Homestead
Style:Contemporary
Status:Extant

Award of Merit Citation

The overall outward form of the house is simple and clear: three parallel barns at right angles to the mountain-sea axis. This axis is preserved by huge openings carved through the thick walls of the interior volumes to link the mountainside through the house out across a veranda and long pool which draws one's eye towards the sea and horizon.The barn-like forms make for an exciting, unusual house.

The lucid exterior contrasts directly to the more complex, and complicated, interior. There are multiple rooms linked together around the focal kitchen but distinguished by shifts in floor level and ceiling height. Spaces are manipulated around the relationship of house to mountain and sea in such a way that they succeed in being intimate and internalised at the same time as they glorify in the landscape. There is an exuberance of detail; the designers have invested much time in skilled use of a variety of materials. The near-perfect connection, affinity and intimacy between the house and its owners is a testament to both the expressive skills of both them and the architects. The pleasure and joy of the house seems tangible, making this is a place that needs to be experienced to fully engage its merits.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

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