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House 4 (House Seftel), Seven Houses Project
Parkview, Johannesburg, Gauteng

William Andrew MARTINSON: Architect

Client:Lisa Seftel

Architect: William MARTINSON while employed at OSMOND LANGE ARCHITECTS & PLANNERS

This is the fourth property along the internal 'street', also designed with the house on the north side of the street; the outbuilding on the south.

The brief called for a house for a single parent and a young child, with Living, Dining, and Kitchen and a Study at Ground Floor; two Bedrooms and two Bathrooms and an open Plan Computer Room at First Floor; easy access to a large Roof Terrace and the provision of utility spaces and Guest Bathroom in the basement. An elder child was to be accommodated in a self-contained Flat in the outbuilding, over a double Garage. A mature tree occurred in the southeast corner of the site and the planning of the outbuilding had to accommodate this.

The limited width of the site (7.25m) suggested the use of two 'courtyards' or 'outside rooms' on the east side to maximize the penetration of natural light. This resulted in a broad 'T-Plan' anchored around a triple volume stairwell, connecting the different floor levels of the house. The stairwell was centrally placed against the west boundary with east facing clearstory windows at roof level permitting easy entry of natural light. The plinth of the house and the external walls of the 'stem' of the T-Plan were constructed in a flush jointed 50mm brick, which differentiated these from the balance of the walls of the house, which were plastered.

The Study – on the south side of the house - has a raised floor level relative to the Ground Floor and is accessed internally via a short flight of steps. This ensured a greater degree of privacy and created a natural separation from the more public areas of the house. The internal volume of the Study was enhanced with the use of two projecting box windows.

A double volume space over the Dining Room provides a spatial connection to the Computer Room and the adjacent stairwell at First Floor. Both the Dining Room and the Computer Room were provided with additional natural light using narrow 'slots' through the east side of the roof terrace slab.

The Main Bedroom and integral en-suite bathroom enjoy views over the common garden and swimming pool area. A dramatic double volume enhances the scale of the second Bedroom and enables ladder access onto a small Mezzanine, which in turn provided a secondary access onto the Roof Terrace.

[William MARTINSON, August 2010]

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.