Designing in the Clifton Bungalow area in Cape Town is always challenging for us modern architects. In this house, we have managed to include all of the 6 bedrooms in the client brief. Dug into the slope, this approach allows the original envelope to be retained and upgraded. The scale and character of the Bungalow area is preserved.
The Clifton Bungalow Area in Cape Town is unique. It has evolved over decades and yet has retained much of the original charm for which it is known. This is in no small part, due to the stringent planning restrictions applicable to all bungalows in the designated area. As such, re-imagining any house in this area comes with many challenges and obstacles, not least of which is the prescription that no development outside of the existing building envelope will be permitted. These houses are traditionally as compact as a beach house should be, simple in layout and accommodation, informal in detail and architectural expression.
These are some of the essential characteristics that these regulations aim to preserve.
The challenge in this project was to find a way of fitting our clients’ extensive accommodation requirements (6 bedrooms!) into a form that would satisfy the ‘envelope challenge’. While the original roof level and profile were preserved, the answer was to create an additional level below the original structure. This extension had little or no impact whatsoever on the immediate neighbours or indeed the area in general and was therefore ultimately approved and built as such.
The overall result is a brand new bungalow that is visually reminiscent of the original in both form and scale while incorporating the luxurious requirements of our clients’ brief.
Externally, the house is dressed in traditional white ship-lap cladding, a grey slate roof with white aluminium doors and windows. Architecturally, it elegantly conforms to the so-called Bungalow Aesthetic.
The interior, however, departs dramatically from the modesty of the exterior. Designed in collaboration with Janine Lazard, the clients’ preferred Interior Decorator, the interior is an exercise in the type of refined opulence often reserved for luxury yachts.
Ceasarstone floors, marble and granite clad walls in black and white with high gloss lacquered cabinetry, satin and linen wallpapers all combine to surround the owners and guests in the pinnacle of Atlantic Seaboard luxury.