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House Steyn
Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate, Pretoria district, Gauteng

People:

Thomas GOUWS: Design Architect
THOMAS GOUWS ARCHITECTS AND INTERIORS: Architect

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Date:2011
Type:Homestead
Status:Extant

Award for Architecture Citation

House Steyn is a simple, refined and well-proportioned rectangular box that nestles itself onto a manicured landscape without losing its unique identity and warmth within the scantily built-up surrounding highveld landscape. Although the overall form of the house is a straightforward rectangular block, its design constitutes a simple H-plan courtyard that is neatly configured and enveloped within the rectangular box's east and west masonry facades with a 'skin-like' timber-screen along the north and south faces of the house. This 'skin' acts as a 'lace' interfacing the indoor and the outdoors of the house's front and back.

When the 'skin' is closed, it contains and emphasises the rectangular spatial volume of the house, whilst when opened the space contained within this volume naturally extends beyond the boundaries of its roof-supporting walls, onto the surrounding golf estate. The variety of spatial qualities created through the opening and closing of this aesthetic and climatic 'skin' allows the house to be exceptionally flexible, delightfully morphing its volume, form and genius loci.

Being within a golf estate, in which all dwellings must comply with the stipulated regulations and standards for a uniform architectural design language, House Steyn broadens the rules with its modestly simple rectangular cube form, which contrasts the few dramatically formalist, hip and or pitch-roofed residential buildings in the estate. Mindful of the uniform aesthetics of the estate, House Steyn has conformed to the materials prescribed for the estate without losing its individual identity. This uniqueness is reinforced as the boundaries between the 'public' and 'private' realms of the house are constantly blurred and re-defined to onlookers by the invigorating morphing courtyard volumes.

Award of Merit Citation

House Steyn is a simple, refined and well-proportioned rectangular box that nestles itself onto a manicured landscape without losing its unique identity and warmth within the scantily built-up surrounding highveld landscape. Although the overall form of the house is a straightforward rectangular block, its design constitutes a simple H-plan courtyard that is neatly configured and enveloped within the rectangular box's east and west masonry facades with a 'skin-like' timber-screen along the north and south faces of the house. This 'skin' acts as a 'lace' interfacing the indoor and the outdoors of the house's front and back.

When the 'skin' is closed, it contains and emphasises the rectangular spatial volume of the house, whilst when opened the space contained within this volume naturally extends beyond the boundaries of its roof-supporting walls, onto the surrounding golf estate. The variety of spatial qualities created through the opening and closing of this aesthetic and climatic 'skin' allows the house to be exceptionally flexible, delightfully morphing its volume, form and genius loci.

Being within a golf estate, in which all dwellings must comply with the stipulated regulations and standards for a uniform architectural design language, House Steyn broadens the rules with its modestly simple rectangular cube form, which contrasts the few dramatically formalist, hip and or pitch-roofed residential buildings in the estate. Mindful of the uniform aesthetics of the estate, House Steyn has conformed to the materials prescribed for the estate without losing its individual identity. This uniqueness is reinforced as the boundaries between the 'public' and 'private' realms of the house are constantly blurred and re-defined to onlookers by the invigorating morphing courtyard volumes.

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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