Benguela Cove by SAOTA

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The home's outdoor view features its amazing building structure and landscaping.

Nature pervades the house –the seamless flow of internal floors and ceilings out into external living spaces is mirrored by the fynbos planting which stalks the edges of the internal envelope, enfolds the terraces and decks and seeps into the garden courtyard.

The setting for this house within Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, on the Botrivier Lagoon south-east of Cape Town is spectacular – a slope of indigenous fynbos vegetation runs into the broad waters of a tidal estuary bordered by mountains. The considered architectural design by SAOTA and Interiors by ARRCC of this holiday house in negotiate the inherent paradox of such exposure to nature – how to shackle the extreme elements – sun, salt, rain and, in particular, high winds – whilst allowing the exceptional natural beauty of the site to pervade every space.

Seen from the lagoon the result is a memorable composition – at once a considered response to the contours and microclimate of the site and a poetic narrative of shelter and outlook. Such an unusual form could feel out of place without its references to the distinct local typologies of barns and fruit-packing sheds. Timber sidings appear at the entrance and are repeated on key ceiling planes, the roofs are a celebration of corrugated aluminium, the over-sailing arms of the “C” shaped layout are a reinterpretation of the traditional “alphabetic” planning of the wings or “werfs” of historic local farms.

The owner’s vision for a comfortable retreat for his children coupled with liveable outdoor spaces for entertaining was developed into a “C” shaped plan whose wings serve to maximise outlook, frame views and create a large sheltered courtyard. This distinctive sheltering shape is again expressed in the wrapped floor-wall-roof profile of the three wings which, assembled together one above the other, track the site as it slopes towards the water. The interior design by ARRCC captures the minimalist sensibility of the architecture.

Entrance at the back of the building is deliberately understated; a modest canopy shelters the front door opening onto a landing from which a broad spine gently traces down the natural gradient alongside a generous garden courtyard. The corridor ends at the kitchen, whose island – a solid block of granite – forms a fulcrum with the principle living areas placed at right angles, parallel with the lagoon. The kitchen looks out over open-plan dining and lounge areas towards a fireplace and picture window framed in a massive concrete hearth wall.

Throughout the house loose furnishings selected by ARRCC, generally sourced from local manufacturer OKHA, provide a warm and luxurious counterpoint to the architecture. OKHA’s signature fine wool and bamboo silk Diamond Rug which takes its inspiration from geometry and rock formations complement the granite floors of the living room. Seating is provided by an impromptu collection of OKHA’s luxurious L-shaped Jada sofa, solid oak frame Miles armchair and Nicci armchair in olive-green leather finish. To anchor the collection the Capri Coffee table in Volakas White marble was chosen to resonate with the geological surrounds. Occasional leather poufs add a casual flair to the layout.

The internal living wing is held between garden courtyard and covered decks leading out to a pool which appears to blend into the lagoon beyond. The slope of the distinctive timber clad soffit was carefully calibrated to provide shelter from the prevailing wind. It extends out from the lounge to create an external living room and outdoor kitchen which are further enclosed by moveable screens.

The dining area boasts OKHA’s Bison dining table which can easily accommodate up to 10 people. The Bison’s solid oak table top forges a hand-in-glove narrative with the ceiling’s beautiful timber sidings.

The two upper wings house bedrooms with elevated views across the lagoon to the mountains. Overlooking the deck OKHA’s signature swivel STM armchair provides the viewer with a 360-degree view of estuary and interior.

Photo Credit: Adam Letch

Designed by: SAOTA

Technical Info

  • Project name: Benguela Cove
  • Project Location: Overberg, South Africa
  • Interior Design: ARRCC
  • Project Team: Mark Rielly; Sarika Jacobs
  • Architects: SAOTA
  • Project Photographer: Adam Letch

About SAOTA

SAOTA, a leading firm of architects is driven by the dynamic combination of Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Greg Truen, Phillippe Fouché and Mark Bullivant who share a potent vision easily distinguished in their design.

This, paired with both an innovative and dedicated approach to the design, documentation and execution of projects globally, has seen SAOTA become an internationally sought-after brand.

Capitalising on a unique understanding of an ever-evolving industry, SAOTA continues to build on past experiences and is well positioned to offer expert services to the corporate, institutional, commercial and residential marketplace. With strong roots in South Africa, 85 % of SAOTA’s clientele is now international with projects in 86 countries.

This success is driven by a design philosophy that connects function and form, and the pursuit of true architectural design to create appropriate solutions. The focus on achieving maximum value has also led to global invitations to design, build and create highly prestigious projects.

The philosophy of practice is embodied in the spirit of enquiry that flourishes amongst its staff. This spirit not only guides the firm, but enables it to maintain its position as definitive designers in a highly competitive and fast-changing industry. Increased exposure to the global marketplace has seen SAOTA flourish as cities and contexts allow for infinite inspiration which can be seen radiating from the approach to design.

SAOTA is also focused on using the most current computer technology in its design process, both to understand the design and to communicate the design to our clients. To this end we are world leaders in the use of Revit and have also developed virtual reality tools for use in our process.

We strive to promote a service marked by excellence both in our buildings and in addressing the needs of our clients, with the focus on high standards & elegance…





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