Found near Prince Albert in the Karoo, South Africa, this four-bedroom home embraces the extreme temperatures of the region known as Swartberg House.
Publisher David Jenkins and Openstudio founder Jennifer Beningfield and near the Swartberg Mountains wanted a home that finds congruency with the power of the landscape that surrounds it.
“I created the Swartberg House because I was interested in making something that was very particular to that particular place. A friend of my asked if this was my dream house, and I said well, there’s not an abstract dream house, but there’s only a house that’s right for a particular place and context,” said Jennifer.
With varying room heights and brick-on-edge floors, Swartberg House executes a thoughtful design.
LED lights, for example, are concealed around the windows to emulate the flow of daytime light, while walls themselves are scattered with thin windows to bring in shafts of light.
“Swartberg House does something very interesting with the environment that it’s in,” said Jennifer. “It’s very hot and very cold – it’s extreme. But rather than rely on artificial means to regulate that temperature, the house itself does it; and by doing that, people have to understand a more direct relationship with the natural world.”
For Jennifer, integrating Swartberg House with its environment enhances the sense of how construction can influence a local and its climate. Among other integrations with the Karoo landscape, the grounds of the house itself embraces the Karoo biodiversity with the use of drought-tolerant Karoo trees and shrubs from the succulent Karoo biodome.
“The Karoo is essential to the way I see things – it’s about clarity, it’s about power, it’s not ambiguous – it’s about the ability to see far and wide.”
For Jennifer, the power of collaboration means that various elements, approaches, and expertise can be amalgamated to execute a design that is thoughtful and enhances its environment.
From choices in design, construction, arrangement, and purpose, Swartberg House defines its landscape as much as its landscape defines the building itself.
This home originally appeared on Inside SA.
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