Nico van der Meulen Architects received a brief from their client’s in MooiKloof Heights, Pretoria, South Africa to design a home for them that was spacious with a strong emphasis placed on the social aspect of the living rooms. “House Boz” was to be a luxury residence of steel, glass and concrete and needed to have four bedrooms incorporated into the design. The home would be positioned on a site that was both large and beautiful and the architects chose to work with the natural setting to create a residence that incorporates the natural quartzite rock from the site itself. Layering into the quartzite element is a two-tiered water feature that borders the social zone before cascading down to a lower level surrounded by a wood-viewing platform.
House Boz is a 777m2 concrete, steel and glass home that presents a strong geometric façade with stacked volumes punctuated by vertical linear planes and large voids. It is a design that communicates with its setting through the use of natural materials and large glazings for views into and out of the internal zones. From the front the home is further highlighted by the light strips embedded into the driveway and on the flight of steps easily visible through the two storey glazings that mark the entrance.
Even the grass has been landscaped in a geometric pattern of different sized rectangular formations.
Just inside the foyer, the stairwell creates a sculptural statement of concrete treads and steel stringers and not to be outdone, the wall behind the stairwell is just as visually exciting with its perforated steel panel.
Installing a balustrade of tempered glass, the stairwell and steel wall are visible from every direction, allowing them to make an artistically modern functional statement.
The stairwell leads to a 2nd storey walkway with floor to ceiling glazings that open wide. The walkway runs the length of the volume leading to the private zones on either side.
The 2nd storey of the home features 3 square or rectangular rusted steel boxes, strategically positioned with voids between, allowing daylight to permeate 3 sides of the zones within. The 3 steel boxes are a dynamic composition that is enhanced by the void cut out on the quartzite rock wall that juts out at a perpendicular angle to the home, integrating the building to the site in a dynamic and exciting composition.
From the backyard the steel boxes sit comfortably on the concrete facade below which, in turn, sis comfortably on a raised lawn area connected to a lower lawn via a short flight of stairs. A second privacy wall divides the lawn section in two and a feature sculpture is centred on the wall.
At first glance this metal sculpture has a definite organic imagery – until you notice the feet, and then the shins, and then the hand, and then the – you get picture (pun intended). I am not sure who created this work of man art but it is spectacular.
The man art is clearly visible from the family room and the concrete wall that backs it continues into the home to become the backdrop to the TV viewing area. The complete composition of architecture, furnishings and art is amazing and the choice to keep all but a few items in shades of grey enhances the visceral effect of the materials. This linking spaces through the use of natural materials in the interior spaces was performed by M Square Lifestyle Design and was done throughout the home with such feature additions as Molteni & C, Horm, Fantoni, Fontana Arte, Tom Dixon and Foscarnini.
A second steel and slightly more abstract sculpture is also visible from the family room through the windows just behind the sofa.
This abstract composition is also positioned in front of a concrete wall, but it has the added visual statement of a pool of water at its feet. The water element is accessible from the family room and kitchen through walls of sliding glass doors.
The kitchen is an unusual design in that the work zone is centred within the space and wrapped in long prep counters. Framing the kitchen on two sides are windows overlooking water elements – and panoramic views, the social zone is on the third side and a second dining zone is on the fourth.
The pool on the second side of the kitchen passes by the social zone before cascading down a vertical wall to a lower level where it is wrapped in a wood platform. The thin strip of landscaping between the kitchen and the water is the perfect place for the chef to grow herbs.
Designing the water element on two levels allows it to be enjoyed both from the interior zones and from the backyard, it also creates a strong connectivity from the living area to the outside zones.
Beside the living area is the dining room and beside that is a large bar. The back of the bar features a stacked quartzite wall created from stones on the property during excavation of the site.
Aside from a family room and a living room, House Boz also has a media room for viewing movies and sports. Located upstairs, the media room has a floor of pale wood planking rather then concrete.
The bedrooms upstairs also feature the pale wood planking but continue the theme of grey on the textiles and accessories – as well as feature walls.
The bathroom leaves the shades of grey behind in favour of a more Zen atmosphere. While the grey may be missing from this room, the strong geometric element of the home is used throughout the room, even the tub is rectangular in shape.