In the 19th century, the polarities of ruin and renewal in De Waterkant, were visible in equal force. Since then, both local and foreign investments have resulted in new residential and commercial developments, which have transformed this precinct. Keeping an eye on the visions and ambitions in this historical and culturally significant area are the City’s Conservation Department as well as the SA Heritage Department of the Western Cape and the De Waterkant Civic Association. Each development needs to be reviewed by these organisations.
The pre-existing house on this narrow site, was a single storey 1 bedroomed semi-detached unit with a single garage. During the client brief to the architectural team, the wish for a spacious 2 bedroomed pad with a roof deck which would allow 360⁰ views of the unique surrounds, was expressed. In 2011, this project was shortlisted for a World Architecture Award!
On a tiny site of only 65 m², the architectural team was faced with quiet the challenge of creating a spacious feeling, comfortable and cutting edge pied-à-terre for a London based collective. The existing space was reconstructed and a further storey as well as 180 m² roof deck was created. Each of the three floors maximise every inch of space. The facades on the lower levels of the house blend in the historic streetscape while the additional floor and roof-deck are unashamedly but complimentary modernist.
Materials used include grey natural granite tiles, oak flooring and exposed off shutter concrete which contrasts with pristine white walls and glass and stainless steel elements.
Storage in a compact house is always challenging, thus there was an emphasis on cleverly using the available space. Starting in the garage, which doubles up as the entrance hall, storage units are subtly built-in.
This urban residence emphasises verticality by relying on a linear granite laid staircase which draws visitors through a series of spatial experiences up from street level to the living area situated on the uppermost floor. The minimalistic architectural design was complimented by carefully selected artwork and furniture.
The KMMA experience was very friendly and supportive. The architect, Ben Kotlowitz, took trouble to understand my needs, translated these needs into a design, obtained planning permissions and managed the project. The job came in close to budget and everyone who visits comments on the quality of the finishes and superb design. I love the fantastic use of space of the small site. Having lived in the house for a while, I wouldn’t change anything.