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House Oosthuizen
Pretoria, Gauteng


2011PIA Award for Architecture

Award Citation

With House Oosthuizen, the architects set out to design a "modern, sculptural home" on a steeply-sloping, north facing site, while respecting the existing topography and natural vegetation. They responded to the site and brief by designing a four-level structure of which only two are visible from the street. In fact, the potential visual bulk was reduced by articulating the form with setbacks, balconies, patios and terraces, thereby achieving human scale.

In spite of the gradient the architects managed to connect interior and exterior spaces convincingly. The indoor outdoor relationship is further enhanced through the use of exposed concrete walls and slab soffits, pigmented screed floors, recycled solid parquet flooring, veld grass roof garden, scaffold plank floor inlays and concrete floor tiles.

Even though accommodation and facilities are extensive and arranging them over four levels must have been challenging, the architects created a logical and easy-tounderstand spatial organisation. In addition, varying ceiling heights and roof lights result in delightfully pleasant and interesting spaces.

The adjudicators agreed that the architects were particularly competent and creative in the way they resolved a complex programme on a difficult site. The extraordinary attention to detail is impressive.

House Oosthuizen is a sophisticated, bold and assertive statement, as well as an appropriate setting for the informality that our climate and culture allows.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.