- Name: Kloof 145 Villa Obsidian
- Bedrooms: 5
- Bathrooms: 5
- Size: 17,144 sq. ft.
- Built: 2018
Situated on a steep site with breathtaking ocean and mountain vistas, the open plan design of this house embraces its surroundings to the fullest. The architects aimed to establish strong connections with the landscape by incorporating bold landscape elements that seamlessly blend with the mountain. Nestled in the wind-protected suburb of Clifton, the site is accessible from Kloof Road, which winds along the western slopes of Lion’s Head. Once covered by indigenous forest and fynbos, the area now offers panoramic views of sandy beaches, boulder outcrops, and the Twelve Apostles mountains to the south, while the Atlantic Ocean provides mesmerizing sunset views.
Architect Phillippe Fouché from SAOTA, the South African architectural firm leading the project, explains that the design concept aimed to restore the natural landscape qualities. The lower part of the building, an independent apartment, is expressed as a “heavy stone plinth,” featuring gabion walls on the exterior and a cocooning interior of dark-stained oak and off-shutter concrete, reflecting the strata of the mountainside. Above this, a transitional space manifests as a green terrace and braai area, representing the foliage level of the landscape. All levels are connected by a sculptural timber staircase, resembling a folded ribbon that gradually lightens in tone as it ascends.
A vertically slatted box hovers over the terrace, enabling forest bushwillow trees to grow through it. The screens of this box can be opened or closed to control the amount of natural light filtering into the interior, evoking the sensation of sitting in the shade of a large tree. To withstand Cape Town’s unpredictable seasons, the structure was engineered from durable yet lightweight aluminum, finished to mimic the various tones of tree bark.
The living level is set back considerably to follow the slope of the mountain, enhancing privacy and acoustic buffering while creating a sense of being on a platform connected to the surrounding views. Phillippe explains that a courtyard towards the mountainside extends the visual space, facilitating ventilation, natural light, and opportunities for planting. The concrete ceiling on this level, shuttered with rough-sawn planks, showcases its raw texture. The use of natural materials extends to the wooden floors and timber-clad scullery in this space, which also serves as the base for a mezzanine-level private study accessed by a bridge spanning the length of the room.
Perched above the treetops, the master bedroom occupies the uppermost level. Designed with white marble, pale timber, and skylights, it exudes a feeling of airiness and openness. Fold-away glass walls welcome the full expanse of the breathtaking view into the room.
- Architect: SAOTA
- Photography: Adam Letch
- Location: 145 Kloof Rd, Clifton, Cape Town, South Africa