Project Details

Client: Private
Category: Commercial / Residential
Location: Newlands, Cape Town
Architect: vdMMA


Being situated at the highest permissible contour level for development on the edge of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve means that it has panoramic views over the Southern Suburbs and Cape Flats.

The house was set out to preserve the existing pines and avoid a variety of granite boulders which were incorporated into the structure and design of the building. A steep site with varying founding conditions informed many engineering decisions. The foundations comprise mainly reinforced concrete strip and pad foundations and, at the front of the building.

Some piles were introduced to limit variability in founding conditions and avoid differential settlements between the portion of the building excavated into the embankment, and the portions of the building projecting outwards over the slope. Reinforced masonry retaining walls were used along the back of the building excavated into the slope of the mountain.

A large boulder, 2 to 3 m in diameter, to be used for landscaping was kept in position whilst the excavation for the garage and basement was carried out. To allow this, temporary reinforced concrete column-beam was built to prop the boulder in place during the construction process.

In the final condition the boulder is held in place by the concrete ground floor slab and a portion of the retaining wall. The forward portion of the building is supported on steel H-columns beams, while reinforced concrete stiffeners and braced steel frames cater for lateral seismic loads.

These, together with masonry walls along the back of the building support the reinforced concrete floors and roof. This arrangement allowed the architect to use glazed walls extensively, allowing the owner to fully experience of the views from the property.

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