Tag: contemporary architecture

House Leech & Vaughan-Scott is a private residence, situated on the slopes overlooking Hout Bay in the Ruyteplaats Private Mountain Estate. 

The brief was for a contemporary, easy living home, with a high level of finishes and largely self-sufficient with regards services.

Contextual factors informing the design included the steep site, the requirement for a pitched roof and a lower than usual height restriction in the estate guidelines, North orientation to the back of the site, views across the bay to the South, and wanting to respond to the high mountains behind. The synthesis of these factors led us to the concept of a monopitch roof corresponding to the slope of the site up to the North, clerestory windows for North light and to catch mountain views, and the living area opening to both sides; to the views to the South, and shaded entertainment areas to the North. Wanting to avoid the feeling of disconnected floor levels levels I opted for splitting the levels, so that there are essential five levels, each only half a flight of stairs apart alternating off a central stairwell.           

Energy efficiency and self-sufficient sustainability played a central role. The windows are double glazed inward opening, with aluminium frames containing thermal breaks. There is a 3-phase grid tied Photovoltaic electric system with 90% of the electricity coming from solar. Borehole water supplies all of the water requirements; for irrigation, the pool and via an extensive filtering process is pumped into the house for all household and drinking water.  

There is a high level of technology integrated into the house; a smart home system provides control to all the lighting, appliances, door & gate control, as well as the PV system, security and irrigation.

The building structure is conventional brick and mortar, with elements of concrete frame and suspended concrete slabs, with a portal steel structure for the roof.


Habitat Deco & Construction

Consulting Engineers

Poise Consulting Engineers

The Project ‘Green Infrastructure’ emerged under the World Bank’s Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience of cities in Mozambique. Beira was identified as one of the pilot cities and the Green Infrastructure project was developed to respond to one of the major priorities of the city in regard to its climate resilience, aiming at an increase in the capacities of the Municipality to manage sustainable infrastructure. The project’s main focus on sustainable infrastructure investments is related to the Chiveve River and its surrounding green space, located in the city centre of Beira.

The Detailed Design was commissioned by KfW Bank and carried out by the consortium INROS LACKNER and CES Consulting Engineers Salzgitter. Urban Infrastructure measures were identified as a proposed exhibition centre, a new market, a restaurant & events building, and a commercial centre at the botanical gardens. The two latter buildings were also to be major points of entry to the green space.   We were appointed as sub-consultants to CES Consulting Engineers Salzgitter, and worked in collaboration with architect Jose Callado PhD, who was the Team Leader.

Jose Callado and his team focused on the exhibition centre and market, and our work was focused on the restaurant and the botanical gardens building. The restaurant building site is on the corner of Av. Daniel Napatima and Rau da Beira Baixa and is a major entrance point to the park, by means of a cycling and pedestrian lane. It also sits as a junction or interface between the park and the built up urban environment. As a gateway to the park the building seeks to bridge the divide between urban and natural context.

The Botanical Gardens Building also serves as a main entrance point to the park, across from the historic Casa dos Bicos. The site runs along the river, with views across the park The Botanical Garden Buildings have two main nodes at either end: the Entrance, Café and Info Centre to the North and the Events Building to the East.  The commercial units between these form an open courtyard configuration, bounded by built structures on three sides and the river on the fourth.

Our design concept was to respond to the context and environment, rather than to historical or stylistic references. We aimed therefore to develop a site-specific architectural language rooted in its landscape. Design strategies, include, inter alia, long horizontal lines, an intimate internal space that opens up to nature on the park side, and responding to nature by being fragmented and layered. Strategies to blur the threshold between interior and exterior spaces include corners that open out to embrace the external space, filtered light from screens, and the fragmented and layered nature of the facades.

The design had a special emphasis on responding to the high humidity and salinity of the air and the increased temperatures. Adequate, resistant timber and metal elements were studied, besides the use of concrete. In order to reduce a heat-up effect of buildings, the placement was considered, as well as natural ventilation through the roof structure and screens

The predominant structural system of the Restaurant Building, including the roof, is a steel portal frame on concrete columns with a concrete ringbeam. The service areas and ablutions are conventional masonry construction. The predominant visual features are timber.

At the Botanical Gardens Building the service areas and ablutions with the park administration offices above, as well the service area of the Café and Events Centre and the Store are conventional masonry construction. The buildings housing the commercial units, comprising the bulk of the structure and the predominant façade onto the courtyard, as well as the public areas of the Events Hall are timber construction, along with all of the pergolas and screens.

The roof structure over the park administration offices and commercial units is timber, with a steel portal frame structure being utilised for the Café and Events Centre.

A modular design of the commercial units allows for adaptation to tenants’ needs, with timber frame dividing walls, allowing for the easy opening up two adjacent units to form a single larger units should this be required.