Such is the case for the lucky homeowners of this luxurious residence in the suburb of Clifton, Cape Town. Located in the western slopes of Lion’s Head, this site was previously covered by indigenous forest and fynbos, before any development was introduced. Today, the area is thriving, and enjoys spectacular views over the sandy beaches, boulder outcrops, and Twelve Apostles mountains towards the south and sunset views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Entrusting South African architectural firm SAOTA to oversee this project, the design team has conceived the abode as an arrangement of staggered blocks that rise along the side of the mountain, with the upper, private levels becoming appropriately shielded from both visibility and street-level noise. States architect and project lead, Phillippe Fouché, “The conceptual approach to the design was to reinstate the qualities of a natural landscape.” The lower part of the building, an independent apartment, is then expressed as ‘a heavy stone plinth’, its gabion-walled exterior and cocooning interior of dark-stained oak and off shutter concrete reflecting the strata of the mountainside out of which they emerge. On top of this is a transitional space that is expressed as a green terrace and braai area, representative of what would have been the landscape’s foliage level. All levels of the house are connected via a sculptural timber staircase, like a folded ribbon that, appropriate to the home’s design narrative, gradually lightens in tone as it rises.
Fouché continues, “above this, the living level is set back considerably to follow the slope of the mountain, resulting in added privacy and acoustic buffering while creating the perception that one is on a platform, connected to the surrounding views. The space is visually extended via the introduction of a courtyard towards the mountainside, which allows for ventilation, light and, again, an opportunity for planting.” The concrete ceiling of this level, shuttered with rough-sawn planks, champions its raw texture. This emphasis on natural materiality can also be seen in the wooden floors and timber-clad scullery in this space.
The scullery also forms the base of a mezzanine-level private study, which is accessed via a bridge that spans the length of the room. Perhaps the most relaxing part of the home is the master bedroom, on the top level of the residence. Sitting high above the tree-tops, a considered material selection of white marble and pale timber paired with the use of skylights expresses a feeling of air and openness, while fold-away glass walls welcome the full expanse of the stunning view. It's truly the best place to rest and rejuvenate.