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House Millar
Mbombela (Nelspruit), Mpumalanga


2005SAIA MP Award for Architecture
2006SAIA Award of Merit

Award Citation

The estate in which House Millar is located is a conservancy in which the chosen format of the low density development scheme unfortunately impacts negatively on the site’s high scenic and conservation value through allowing houses to be dotted over the whole estate. Within this paradigm, the design of House Millar consciously takes a counter-position by indicating and supporting a more concentrated settlement type with active engagement with the internal street network, thus leaving more open space with high visual and conservation quality. In contrast to most estate developments where there is a lack of privacy between units, the siting and lay-out of this design provides for a high degree of privacy while having good neighbour and street relationships. The form and scale of the house addresses both the vast scale of the environment and the intimate scale of family life.

There is good resolution of the transition from public to private space. Interior spaces are well defined, and aptly respond to their intended functional uses while being open to redefinition. The exciting form and scale of the central living space acts as formal space for social linkage with society, as well as being the spatial connector to members of the family. The arrangement of rooms is well considered as flexible container for evolving family life.

The achieved relationship between interior and exterior spaces facilitates the seamless contact with outside covered spaces, taking full advantage of the possibilities of outside living. The house employs passive design principles appropriate to the region in order to achieve a suitable energy use profile and optimise human comfort. Finishes range from extremely rough to very smooth, and were carefully chosen to enhance the experience and quality of space – the workmanship and detailing is excellent throughout. The landscaping acts as appropriate mediator between the formal exterior architecture and natural landscape.

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.