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Kai Kai Show House
Port Nolloth, Northern Cape


Client:Jimmy du Toit
2011SAIA NC Award for Architecture
2012SAIA Award of Merit

Award of Merit Citation

The Kai Kai show house in Port Nolloth exhibits clean contemporary spaces whose slightly rugged surface treatment lends the building an organic texture contrasted against regimental split-level horizontal floor and vertical wall planes. The partially sheltered central courtyard acts as a transitional space that interfaces the surrounding enclosed and exposed volumes. Whilst the overall design approach brings to mind contemporary Mexican coast domestic architecture, the central court conjures up the traditional abantu (meaning people) homestead typically found in sub-Saharan Africa.

This sense of the African homestead is brought to the fore upon entry, as one would when entering a lapa. Just as the latter doubles up as an outdoor living area catering also as an entertainment area and a circulation space between two or more rondavels, so too does the Kai Kai court in relation to the elevated bedrooms on the east and the sunken living areas towards the west. Again as with the homestead lapa, the court becomes the conduit through which natural lighting and ventilation is filtered into and throughout the building.

The apparent simplicity of the building's multi-level flat roof planes becomes the basis into which light-flooded spaces are generated through the clever use of clerestory lighting that defines edges and movement routes. The Kai Kai show house is a sensory emotional experience that draws from its surroundings to create a tranquil spatial event that subtly draws its sense of place from the near austere landscape to the east and from the tidal ocean on the west.

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.