Detached Houses

SGNW House / Metropole Architects

SGNW House – Description of  Metropole Architects.

Zimbali Coastal Resort is situated in lush sub-tropical coastal forest on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, and overlooks miles of pristine deserted beaches, and the warm Indian Ocean. Zimbali – “The Valley of Flowers” in Zulu, is richly endowed with the beauty of abundant indigenous fauna and flora including over 200 species of birds, Bushbuck, Blue Duiker, Vervet monkeys and Banded Mongoose. Nestled in the Forest and beside the 5 star golf course are magnificent, ecologically designed homes with an unprecedented level of luxury. The Architecture within Zimbali Coastal Resort is one that is harmonious with nature, and encompasses elements of the Tropical Asian Vernacular theme.

© Grant Pitcher

The Design of SGNW House was significantly influenced by traditional Japanese architecture, and Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, primarily with regard to interpenetration of exterior and interior spaces and the strong emphasis placed on harmony between man and nature.

The general features of traditional Japanese architecture include, the roof being the most visually impressive component, often constituting half the size of the whole structure and including oversize eaves. The separation between inside and outside is itself in some measure not absolute as entire walls can be removed, opening the buildings to visitors. Structures are made to a certain extent a part of their environment, and care is taken to blend the edifice into the surrounding natural environment. Traditional Japanese interiors, as well as modern, incorporate mainly natural materials including fine woods, bamboo, silk, rice straw mats, and paper shōji screens. Natural materials are used to keep simplicity in the space that connects to nature. The properties of wood are valuable in the Japanese aesthetic, namely its warmth and irregularity.

© Grant Pitcher

In Japan, the garden has the status of artwork. Japanese gardens always have water, either a pond or stream, or, in the dry rock garden, represented by white sand. In Buddhist symbolism, water and stone are the ying-yang, two opposites which complement and complete each other. A traditional garden will usually have an irregular-shaped pond, or, in larger gardens, two or more ponds connected by a channel or stream, and a cascade, a miniature version of Japan’s famous mountain waterfalls.

Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, 50 miles (80km) southeast of Pittsburgh The home was built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run in the Mill Run section of Stewart Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains.

© Grant Pitcher

Wright’s passion for Japanese architecture was strongly reflected in the design of Fallingwater, particularly in the importance of interpenetrating exterior and interior spaces and the strong emphasis placed on harmony between man and nature. Contemporary Japanese architect Tadao Ando has stated: “I think Wright learned the most important aspect of architecture, the treatment of space, from Japanese architecture. When I visited Fallingwater in Pennsylvania, I found that same sensibility of space. But there was the additional sounds of nature that appealed to me.”

© Grant Pitcher

Bear Run and the sound of its water permeate the house, especially during the spring when the snow is melting, and locally quarried stone walls and cantilevered terraces resembling the nearby rock formations are meant to be in harmony. The design incorporates broad expanses of windows and balconies which reach out into their surroundings.

© Grant Pitcher

SGNW house, like Fallingwater, harmonises with its natural context. Where Fallingwater’s cantilevered terraces resemble the nearby rock formations, SGNW house’s large overhanging roof forms and cantilevers, including the main suite which cantilevers 6 metres over the outside entertainment area below, combined with the glazed ground floor, represent and continue the coastal forest tree canopy.

Large amounts of glazing optimize views of the indigenous bush that encapsulates the house, and together with the palette of raw materials including natural timber, grey travertine cladding, water and natural stone cladding, dissolve the seperation between inside and outside.

© Grant Pitcher

Water is a primary component in SGNW House. Several bodies of water, including Koi ponds, water features and a rimflow swimming pool appear to coalesce into one, and flow through the house and out into the forest. There are two waterfall level drops in the swimming pool, which provide the evocative sound of water falling throughout the ground floor living spaces. The house is entered over water with a timber bridge spanning across the Koi pond into the double volume entrance hall, which is itself and island surrounded by glass panels through which the Koi pond is viewed. The Koi can alternatively be viewed through a glazed slot in the floor of the kitchen, as the Koi pond which appears at the front and back of the home is linked with a tunnel under the house, through which the fish can traverse.

© Grant Pitcher

SGNW house is a sensually rich experience, with its palette of carefully considered natural finishes, sound of falling water, connection with nature including vistas of indigenous forest, fresh breezes and bird call, which all transport the resident to an experiential paradise of peace and tranquilty and a sense of well-being.


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