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House van Dyk
Midrand, Gauteng


2017GIfA Award for Architecture
2018SAIA Award of Merit

Award of Merit Citation

House van Dyk is situated on a relatively small triangular site on a south-facing slope. The site has a long boundary on the southern side, and a narrow and short boundary with the street on the northern side. It is a gently sloping terrain with a wonderful view to the south. On this side is a shallow valley with a dam — an area that is also the visual and social focus of this gated community.

From this site situation, the problems and the potentials are clear. The view is in the southerly direction while the north orientation is towards the narrow and more constricted side where the car access is also to be gained from.

The solution devised by Earthworld Architects is beautiful in its simplicity. The double garage with a planted roof was placed on the western perimeter close to the street, while the long double-storey house was situated on the southern boundary. The section of this building is such that views to the south are maximised, while a long clerestory window on the north facade allows north light to fill the whole interior.

The remaining triangular area has been developed into a richly planted garden. By means of some cut and fill on the site, the low-slung double-storey section of the house is subtly embedded into the site. On the northern side of the house, there is also a nicely protected lower courtyard. The upper level of the house is larger than the lower level. The shadow created in this manner dissociates the two levels. This device is specifically pronounced on the southern facade creating an impression that this part of the house is floating, like a ship, above the landscape. This near maritime quality is reinforced when the large sliding doors on this upper level are open, placing the main space of the house in direct contact with nature. The interior of this space is uncluttered and has a sense of warmth and protection created by the plywood surfaces.

House van Dyk by Earthworld Architects is a wonderful example of efficiency achieved with a direct simplicity designed by talented and brave architects for equally brave clients.

Writings about this entry

South African Institute of Architects . 2018. Awards : South African Institute of Architects. Awards for Excellence, Awards of Merit, Regional Awards for Architecture 2017/2018. Cape Town: Picasso for SAIA. pg 60, 61 ill