Joanne Hain Architect
beautiful places deserve beautiful spaces
This home will be built in Cathkin Estate later in 2019
Ntunja is the name of a mountain in the ‘little berg’ also known as Gatberg that can be seen from some areas of Cathkin Estate. The mountain has a large hole in the summit and Ntunja is the Zulu name for the peak meaning ‘the eye of the needle’. Apart from being a unique geographical feature in the area, the name is appropriate for the design because the concept of the house is based on creating frames around the views of the mountains. Similar to the rock around the hole of Ntunja, the frames shade from the harsh western sun and create special moments of revealing the view through the openings.
The design and layout of the house are largely based on my experience of having lived on the estate for a year; the views are truly spectacular but the view and the location come with some harsh environmental realities which need to be balanced; the harsh western sun which sets behind the mountains in summer is contrasted with icy winter days.
You want to be able to appreciate the views but to be cocooned in a home that is comfortable and practical within the environment. To achieve this the design incorporates passive environmental design strategies; windows facing the mountain that are framed to shade from the harsh western sun, north facing windows let in plenty of light and warmth in winter but will be shaded by roof overhangs in summer.
The living area is entirely open plan with views of the mountain allowing everyone to enjoy the social moments of everyday life or holidays together. A scullery hides the mess in the kitchen but those on cooking duty can still interact with family and friends from the open plan kitchen area. The living area is open truss to give it a light airy feel and maximise views. Folding sliding doors open the indoor living area onto patios which will have spectacular mountain views and warm northern sunlight. This will allow for the easy flow from indoor to outdoor living when the weather is fine.
The bedrooms are kept simple but with special moments like a window seat facing the mounting to sit on curled in a blanket with a good book. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom and a private sitting area looking on to the mountain. The main bedroom is given some privacy from the veranda by being on a different level and screened by a built in planter.
An entryway closet for hanging coats and stashing boots and a small desk area make living in the house more practical. There is a double carport and overflow parking as well as a practical garden store room and outdoor toilet should you use the home as a holiday home and employ a garden service. A yard hides any unsightly items like rainwater tanks, gas bottles and washing lines.