Location: Windhoek, Namibia
House 32 is situated in the exclusive Herboth’s Blick Nature Estate to the east of Windhoek: here residents are offered privacy and tranquility within a 350ha game-fenced
indigenous parkland setting, complete with free-roaming game such as giraffe, kudu, gemsbok, eland, and springbok.
The new residence is located on a 5ha site which slopes gently downwards to the north, offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding farmland and distant mountains. Vehicular access is from the south, with nearby houses overlooking the property from the east and west.
The clients, a young professional couple, shared a clear vision for their first new house: a modern, minimalist design featuring a large, open-plan living area – kitchen, dining, lounge –
on ground floor, seamlessly connected to a covered entertainment area and pool deck, and a spacious, open-plan master suite and two en-suite guest bedrooms on the first floor, all
of which enjoying north orientation and views of the rolling landscape.
included a study, a glazed, climate-controlled wine store, and a large gym. Articulated as a sleek pavilion and viewing platform, the house envelope with its slanted roof unfolds to the north in order to capture the spectacular views and overlook the nearby waterhole. It turns its back to the higher-lying airport road to the south, sheltering the
occupants from direct view: a courtyard garden further aids visual privacy and strengthens the feeling of being surrounded by nature.
The house is entered from the east along a circulation axis spatially articulated as a double volume featuring an open timber-and-steel staircase and offering glimpses of the first-floor
circulation bridge and the wine store located at the furthest end. Both the ground and first floors are configured with single-depth spaces strung along the north façade.
Substantial roof and balcony overhangs provide shaded protection of the glazed façade from the sun during the hot summer months: during the cold winter months sun penetration into the building assists with heating the interior spaces. Double glazing and automated
internal roller blinds further ensure thermal comfort. Budgetary constraints resulted in the omission of the foldaway sun control and privacy screen on the first floor. A cavity wall construction was used for the west façade.
Structurally the inconspicuous use of slim, black-painted circular steel columns minimizes vertical structural support visually, emphasizing the feeling of openness of the living areas from within and aiding the uninterrupted floated expression of the horizontally layered north
façade and roof.
Heat gain through the mono-pitched roof is countered with appropriate insulation and a thermally ventilated void: linear grilles located along the entire length of the roof edges serve
as in- and outlets. Natural ventilation of the living areas is aided by means of a thermal stack in the form of a double-volume dining room linked to the roof void. The double-volume also provides visual links to and from the bridge connecting the various bedrooms.
The entertainment area is shielded from the fierce afternoon sun by means of an art installation in the form of a folded laser-cut screen. Its cantilevered roof and floating concrete benches frame an imposing view of the rolling landscape and nearby mountains.
A minimalist approach was followed in terms of the selection of materials and finishes, both inside and out: off-shutter concrete is contrasted with smooth-plastered, predominantly white
wall surfaces, white ceilings, and polished concrete floors. Exposed aggregate concrete is used for the driveway.
Externally the ever-changing play of shadow and light on the building facades provides the only form of decoration. The interior serves as a neutral backdrop for an eclectic art collection, with veneer-layered beech and granite adding warmth and texture to an
otherwise neutral colour palette.A grid-linked photo-voltaic system generates electricity for own use.