Architect: Firm: SAOTA, Project Architects: Phillippe Fouché & Mias Claassens,
Town: Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Hovering over the sand dunes at Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, is the Beachyhead beach house by SAOTA architects. The project has been conceived as a simple box which captures and frames the ocean view. The outer shell of the box is finished in a rough natural texture that references the dune, contrasting with the smooth reveal and soffit that tapers to create a delicate frame.
From the road, the scale of the house is modest, with living spaces concealed on a lower level. Strong horizontality is articulated in the entrance canopy, which is planted with indigenous shrubs, the foliage contrasting with the slab edge.
Taking advantage of the remarkable views - with Robberg peninsula to the south-east and the Outeniqua Mountains in the distance towards the north - the southern section of the house is higher and appears to be sliced off from the northern part giving the structure a sculptural appearance. This opening extends vertically through the building, washing northern light into the deeper spaces of the house. Lit from a skylight above, the stairs are suspended in this void, allowing for ocean views through it.
The geometry of the staircase continues as a diagonal line that extends the cantilevering entertainment terrace. The centrally-positioned kitchen serves the living spaces and northern courtyard. The kitchen volume then opens upwards to the bedroom gallery, allowing northern light into the house.
Located on the lower terrace, a pool connects to the main entertainment spaces by means of a stone staircase, articulated as part of the plinth. With a water level that is slightly raised above the deck surface; a rim flow all round creates the impression that this reflective water body slots into the timber deck, establishing unity between this refined, easy-flowing home and its natural surroundings.