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Residence van Vught
Johannesburg, Gauteng



Project Architect: Achilles APOSTOLELLIS


Residence Van Vught is yet another well executed architectural project from a firm which has previously received awards for residential work. Although much of the architectural language used previously is employed again here, this in no way detracts from the architectural merit of the house.

The residence is very clearly a response to the client's brief, climate and the specific context of the site. Located within a "secure village" of very exclusive and expensive houses the site has a spectacular view of the surrounding golf course and Jukskei River, and this is exploited extensively and carefully throughout the house.

The house turns its back to the street and waits to expose the spectacular view from inside the house. The boundary between inside and outside is denied through the tried and tested mechanism of window walls that disappear completely into cavity walls. The garden terrace contains a black pool and water feature edged by a low walled planter filled with veld grass which has been left to grow wild and blend into the borrowed highveld landscape beyond. A walk through the rest of the house captures and frames the view at significant points. Concealed roof lights and sidelights bring light into the house in a way which continues the theme of disguising the relationship between inside and outside. The thickness of walls and depth of opening reveals create dramatic planes of light and shadow on the all white surfaces.

The residence is well placed on the site and makes full use of side spaces in the form of private courtyards opening off the bedrooms.

The one very sad consequence of this house having been built first is the unfortunate and inconsiderate way in which the neighbouring house imposes itself on this house.

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.