Johanessburg-based Nico Van Der Meulen Architects blend a clean contemporary aesthetic with a more textured traditional style in their design for a House in Blair Atholl, an exquisite private residence in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Home was designed in 2015 and offers a countryside feel but with clean lines, bold geometry and intricate interior design. Here’s a descriptive look at the home, culled from their website, “Designed by Werner van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects, this double storey home boasts nearly 750 m² under roof and is surrounded by serenity and tranquility.Free from high boundary walls and electric fencing which is customary to most luxurious houses in Johannesburg, this design is different. With unrestricted views of the countryside, the expansiveness of this home is certain to catch your attention as you approach the house.”
The brief called for a contemporary, practical home that encouraged outdoor living with an emphasis on entertaining. The design is just that, a modern family home that is spacious and uncluttered from unnecessary decorative elements. This was certainly a Form-Follow-Function approach.
The design concept is undoubtedly a strong one which speaks for itself and whilst Werner van der Meulen was restricted by the estate rules which included making use of pitched roofs and certain natural materials, it was in fact these very parameters which led to the concept of a contemporary farmhouse. The floating double pitched slate roof also played a huge role in the development of the concept and reinforces the contemporary nature of the design.
Orientating the house northwards allows for the home to be naturally lit all year round and provides expansive views of the garden from nearly every room. While the overhangs provide protection from the sun during the summer, they also ensure that the sun still penetrates the rooms during the winter months.
The double volume entrance hall completely surrounded by glass, draws you in as it’s bordered by two double garages on either side. The symmetry of the timber wrapped garages highlights the transparency of the house as views of the garden captivate you even before you have entered. Enveloped in natural wood, the garage doors disappear into a timber wall paying tribute to Werner’s ability to transform the everyday ordinary into an extra ordinary design feature.
The frameless folding doors create an invisible threshold between the inside and the outside and when completely open, the lanai becomes an extension of the kitchen and family/dining and vice versa.
The spacious lanai accommodates a braai, bar and seating area making it ideal for entertaining while the swimming pool is integral into the design of the lanai and even extends beneath the cantilevered floor slabs.The unapologetic floating timber staircase becomes a grand feature which floats above the floor plane as the natural stone cladded wall forms the perfect backdrop for the sculptural masterpiece by Regardt van der Meulen. A bridge with frameless glass balustrade connects the two wings of the house while also maintaining a sense of privacy for the main bedroom which is located on the Eastern wing of the house.