August 8, 2023
Beyond House: where art and architecture embrace in Cape Town's heart.
In the heart of Cape Town, a city celebrated for its culture, landscape, and climate, the architecture office Saota, has envisioned and crafted an extraordinary project - Beyond House. As a private dwelling space, the house embraces the spirit of its surroundings while doubling as a gallery for the owner's collection of contemporary South African art pieces. The result is a distinctive living environment that stimulates the senses and appeals to a modern lifestyle of indoor/outdoor integration.
The architect behind the design, who also happens to live in the space, explains, "As this is our family home, it was very important that it works in all aspects - for living, entertaining, and family requirements. Personally, it was an opportunity to experiment with more raw finishes and simpler details." The unique experience of inhabiting a home they have designed has profoundly influenced their perspective on architectural design, with the architect confessing, "I now far prefer staying in and entertaining at home. It is an environment that is very difficult to compete with."
The design principles of Beyond House artfully blur the lines between domesticity and artistic showcase. The home holds a considered collection of local art, cleverly curated to complement the architecture. It is also designed to maximize on its enviable location, with the glazed boundaries between inside and outside retractable, creating a seamless, transparent space that merges a lush back garden with the sprawling views of Lion's Head and the sea beyond.
Embedded in Cape Town's distinctive context, ched on the shoulders of Lion’s Head, the home springs from a steep hillside that drops off to the famous sequence of Clifton’s white beaches to the Twelve Apostles beyond." The materiality of the building is carefully considered with materials used in a pure, uncomplicated way, eschewing fussy details in favor of raw, untreated finishes such as rusted steel stair balustrades. This focus on simplicity creates a strong connection between the building's forms and its surrounding landscape.
Local factors, such as climate, have been deeply influential in shaping the home's design. Large glass facades invite ample morning and winter sun into the space, while overhangs temper the strong afternoon glare. Late afternoon sun bathes the living and garden spaces in warmth, moderated by automated blinds and high-performance glass that restrict UV rays and retain heat, thus minimizing the reliance on fossil fuel heating.
Reflecting on the completed Beyond House, the architect expresses satisfaction and confidence in their design decisions. "No, every aspect of the home was carefully considered. Beyond is not the first family home I’ve designed so I took all the fundamental elements we loved from previous homes and built on the ideas to make them better." Through the thoughtful combination of aesthetics, function, and local sensibilities, Beyond House emerges as an embodiment of contemporary South African architecture that is deeply personal, elegantly functional, and visually stunning. It stands not just as a dwelling place, but also as a testament to the power of architecture to reflect and enhance the human experience.
_written by Daniela Moreira Silva_director and producer: Tatjana Meirelles
_soundtrack: Gary Thomas
_lighting design: MADE Studio by Martine Doller
_cover image by Adam Letch & Stefan Antoni
_drawings by SAOTA:
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