A house for entertaining at Benguela Cove Lagoon, South Africa

Project details
Architect: SAOTA
Contractor: Innes Projects
Town: Overberg, South Africa

Set in Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, on the Botrivier Lagoon south-east of Cape Town, a family holiday home, designed by SAOTA, strikes a subtle harmony with the natural landscape that surrounds it.

©Adam Letch

Built for the purpose of relaxation and entertaining, the building follows an unusual form – the inside living space extends outside onto a series of terraces and courtyards, set over three levels. Developed as a response to the contours and microclimate of the site, the “C” shaped plan has been designed to provide a maximum outlook, framing the views across the lagoon. The distinctive sheltering shape is further expressed in the wrapped floor-wall-roof profile of the three wings, tracking the site as it slopes towards the water. The roof is made of corrugated aluminium, timber sidings appear at the entrance and are repeated on key ceiling planes, and the over-sailing arms of the “C” shaped layout serve as a reinterpretation of the traditional “alphabetic” planning of the wings or “werfs” of historic local farms.

©Adam Letch

A canopy shelters the back entrance, which opens onto a landing from which a broad spine traces down the natural gradient alongside a large garden courtyard. The corridor ends at the kitchen, in which an island, roughly carved from a solid block of granite, forms a fulcrum with the principle living areas placed at right angles, striking a parallel with the lagoon. The kitchen looks out over open-plan dining and lounge areas towards a pre-weathered Cor-Ten steel-clad fireplace and a picture window is framed within a massive concrete hearth wall.

The internal living wing is situated between the garden courtyard and covered decks leading out to a pool which appears to blend into the lagoon beyond. The slope of the distinctive timber clad soffit has been carefully calibrated to provide shelter from strong winds that affect the area and extends out from the lounge to create an external living room and outdoor kitchen which are further enclosed by moveable screens.

©Adam Letch

ARRCC provided the interior design, much of which has been sourced from local manufacturer OKHA, whose signature fine wool and bamboo silk geometric Diamond Rug complements the granite floors of the living room. A solid oak statement dining table serves as a central feature to the living space, complementing the ceiling’s timber sidings, while wood accents and leather furnishings add warmth and comfort to an otherwise minimalist aesthetic.

©Adam Letch

The stair rises alongside a CNC-cut timber screen and leads to two upper wings, home to bedrooms with elevated views across the lagoon to the mountains.