August 24, 2023
House Llandudno: Innovation, skill, and cultural understanding.
Architect Dion Walters explains the illusion of weightlessness, particularly evident in House Llandudno's structural elements: "Any good design solution starts with understanding the function required." Through careful analysis of the site and surroundings, he prioritizes the accommodation schedule, and considers forms that meet the specific needs of the environment. In the case of House Llandudno, the necessity for shelter from extreme winds, large apertures for uninterrupted views, and deep cantilevers for sun shading led to the choice of cast off-shutter concrete.
The ‘weightless’ aesthetic was achieved by tapering the concrete eaves to create an illusion of thinness. Dion describes this process, "Understanding line of sight assisted us with the illusion... with a lighter edge we were able to cantilever further, and quite honestly we prefer the look of weightlessness." This elegant treatment resonates with historical design illusions, drawing a line to architectural masterpieces like the Parthenon and Michael Angelo’s David.
South African culture has significantly influenced Dion’ architectural approach. He reflects on the learnings from the original Cape Dutch architecture and the influence of material choice and brick construction following the Anglo-Boer War. At Bomax, the progression to ‘European methods’ was purposeful, and contemporary concrete architecture inspired by Japanese architects took the craft even further. Dion acknowledges, "House Llandudno is a great example of the response to environment and culture. We pushed the envelope on the trades and services that were available to us to meet the international standard of contemporary concrete formwork."
Balancing global architectural trends with authentic South African cultural influences is key to Bomax’s design philosophy. The integration of outdoor living reflects South Africa's passion for entertaining, sports, and connection to nature. "Spaces need a certain adaptability to be both open and closed, with seamless transitions between inside and outside," Dion emphasizes. Materials and methods that align with the climate and sustainability guide the designs, resulting in projects that are clean, modern, and considerate.
House Llandudno showcases the beauty of understanding function, creatively integrating material, and celebrating South African culture. Dion' thoughtful design, characterized by weightless aesthetics and a blend of global and regional influences, sets a benchmark in contemporary architecture that’s both respectful of tradition and ambitiously innovative.
_article written by Daniela Moreira Silva
_film curated by Architecture Hunter
_produced by Bomax Architects
_directed by Dion Max Walters & Rory Till
_narrated by Dion Max Walters, founder of Bomax Architects
_surfer: Joshua Bodrie, partner at Bomax Architects
_model: Mia Walters
_cover image by Paris Brummer
_drawings by Bomax Architects:
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