Frankie Pappas, an architecture studio based in Johannesburg, has designed a home in the bushveld that’s virtually invisible to the untrained eye.
Called The House of the Big Arch, it was designed and built on the concept of a home that disappears into the landscape, sitting among the rocks and trees and birds, and offering animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter while treating the bushveld with its deserved respect.
Before embarking on the project, Frankie Pappas laser-scanned the entire site and used the resulting 3D ‘digital forest’ to inform the design. The house was built using very simple materials: rough stock brick which was selected to match the site’s weathered sandstone; sustainably-grown timbers for the ‘bridge’ portions of the building, and, glass and aluminium to fill in the non-structural wall.
“Any funky bulges and protrusions in the plan of the building were dictated by where trees allowed us to build,” the team wrote in their project description, noting that no trees were demolished during construction. The result is a long, custom, and seriously skinny building that appears to float through the tree canopy.
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 provides yet more courtyards; a study; library, and, a small swing bench under the arch while the cellar creates a climate conducive to curing meats, storing food supplies and ageing wines.
The house is completely off-grid, so, how will its inhabitants cope? The answer is by simply relying on nature to provide their needs. Water is supplied by rain and filtered by nature; electricity is courtesy of the sun, and since the house has been built under large, leafy shades, there is little or no need for excessive energy to cool and preserve.
Source: Archello (House of the Big Arch)