frankie pappas

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house of the big arch

MARRYING SANDSTONE CLIFF AND RIVERINE FOREST

house of the big arch occupies a unique place in a nature reserve
situated in the waterberg mountains of south africa
a landscape of remarkable plants, inspiring cliffs, and prodigious wildlife

THE BRIEF

a home that disappears into the landscape;
that sits amongst the rocks and trees and birds
that offers animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter
that treats the bushveld with its deserved respect

THE IDEA

the underlying concept was to bridge the landscape between riverine forest and sandstone cliff
whilst raising the living space into the tree canopy, amongst the abundant arboreal life
the building is organised as one long thin building which slots between the forest trees
the shapes of the additions to the central building are dictated by the position and size of the surrounding trees
(not one tree was demolished during the construction of this home)

THE MATERIALS

the building makes use of a very simple set of materials
which all play their part in making the building part of its landscape
the most abundant material is a rough stock brick which was selected to match the site’s weathered sandstone
the ‘bridge’ portions of the building are constructed from sustainably-grown timbers
whilst glass and aluminium fill in the non-structural wall

THE PROGRAMME

the first floor offers to its inhabitants a planted courtyard, a reclusive lounge, a sunlit dining room,
a farmhouse kitchen and scullery, a tree-shaded deck, a small pool,
and a fireplace around which most of the cooking and living occurs
the ground floor provide yet more courtyards, a study, library and a small swing bench under the arch
the cellar creates a climate conducive to curing meats, storing food supplies and ageing wines

CLOSING THOUGHT

because there in the bushveld lies my heart