Cape Town-based architecture practice Saota has used its local knowledge to build a hoilday home that resists extreme weather conditions while taking advantage of the sunlight and the sunsets at Pringle Bay. Nestled in a rocky landscape at the foot of the steeply rising Hangklip mountain and overlooking the South Atlantic ocean, Restio River House had to be robust in its construction, yet comfortable and relaxing within.
Saota director Philip Olmesdahl brought an intimate awareness of the geographic area to the project: ‘We live in Cape Town, where we work, but our “home” is in Pringle Bay,’ he says. Olmesdahl lived on the property for almost ten years before building, so had the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the changes in light across the day and the seasons.
‘The landscape has a rawness, with seasonal and daily shifts reminding you how profound it is to live in such a beautiful place. Experiencing the property before building allowed us to create a home that captured the spirit of the place – or at least as we know it.’
Olmesdahl decided to orient a staircase surrounded in glass to the north which would allow light to flood through the stairwell and into the kitchen. The staircase is a feature in itself, made of black, matt enamel-painted plate steel with terrazzo treads. The architects opened up the ground floor plan of the home to allow for a sense of continuous space and flow of light. The living area and the terrace look west towards Cape Point, positioned to catch the intense haloed early evening sunsets.
The home had to have a sturdy structure to withstand the elements: ‘The climate of Pringle Bay is severe and ever-changing, but within the turbulence of the prevailing winds and weather this close to the sea, the area is still tranquil with incredibly memorable days,’ says Olmesdahl.
The architects used a concrete and brick structure, with grey metal-zinc frames. The strong horizontal lines of the architecture reflect those of the horizon and the layered landscape beyond. An internal courtyard provides a sheltered outdoor space, while surrounding the property milkwood, coral trees and waterberries were planted to blend with the surrounding fynbos.