House Desai by Metropole Architects features a ‘Wrap-Around’ Lap Pool and views the KwaZulu-Natal Coastal Forest.

Metropole Architects
Design Architect
Tyrone Reardon of Metropole Architects
Project Technician
Chris Laird of Metropole Architects
Interior Design
Amy Mitchell of Studio Mitchell
Bramin Consulting Engineers
Sygnatur Projects
Kitchen and BIC’s
Kitchen Classics
Timber screens and pergolas
Timber Trends
Lynch Frog
Grant Pitcher

House Desai is a 4 bedroom tropical home located in the upscale Zimbali Forest Estate, on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Designed by Tyrone Reardon, a partner at Durban based firm Metropole Architects, the home features an array of modern tropical design elements, including an expansive Gablet or Dutch gable roof with large eaves, extensive use of timber for screens, cladding and pergolas, as well as a seamless indoor-outdoor flow between the spaces. This flow makes for an effective open-plan, ground floor living area with collapsible floor-to-ceiling glass walls that frame picturesque views of the surrounding vista. Timber screens envelope the first floor offering shade to windows for each of the large ensuite bedrooms as well as the compact TV lounge. The design process for the home commenced in July 2014 with construction completing in October 2018.

Project Description

The site purchased by our client for their dream home was a “ green field” site in an established section of Zimbali Coastal Forest Estate. Thick natural coastal forest vegetation covered the site, with a mature Flat Crown tree situated on the front boundary. The site enjoys views of Holy Hill, which is a protected section of natural coastal forest within the estate, to the East.

Many characteristics of Tropical Modern Architecture, including an elemental roof form with large eaves, overhanging upper storey, timber screens and pergolas, flow of spaces including an uninterrupted indoor / outdoor flow and lush landscaping, fundamentally influenced the design approach. One of the requirements detailed in the client’s brief was the inclusion of a lap pool for swim training. The pool was positioned with 15 metres running along the northern side of the ground floor layout, and returning around the covered entertainment area on the eastern side for another 8 metres, and terminating with a glass panel into the entrance hall.

The layout of the ground floor living spaces was executed as a operable “glass box” on the northern and eastern elevations, with the more “solid” spaces situated on the western and southern sides. The motivation for this was to take advantage of the natural light and views on offer, and well as the indoor/outdoor flow with the pool and covered entertainment spaces.

The concrete roof element over the entrance hall and covered entertainment space continues as an extensive concrete cantilever and timber pergola over the swimming pool. This element scales the building visually by controlling the vertical proportions, as well as creating a sense of drama and excitement, which can be experienced in a number of different ways when moving through the home and visiting the various spaces. The finish to the underside of this element is a Birch ply timber ceiling, with the intention being to “cocoon” the covered patio space with a warm, golden material.

Circulation between the three levels of the home happens within a staggered double volume entrance hall, with filtered high level glazing and a picture window that frames a view of the natural coastal forest beyond.

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