Bishopscourt in Cape Town is a suburb with a traditional identity, comprising mainly freestanding villas in a variety of historic styles. This project was an alteration to a
conventional compartmented Georgian-style house, with no relationship to ground, on a steep and oddly shaped site. It needed to be recast as an open flowing immersive space, in conversation with its surroundings.
The existing hipped roof and top storey were removed, the house was extended in length and the entire top floor was re-interpreted as a roof, with dormers that are elaborated to echo the powerful
cliffs of the back of Table Mountain. The house manifests as a floating mountain. New additions outside of the existing envelope are expressed as separate timber clad buttress-like elements. The mountain metaphor is extended to the entrance procession, culminating in a massive abstracted rock overhang. As an abstraction of typology and landscape, the composition relies on the clarity and precision of its junctions, as well as on the purity of its forms for its eloquence. The roof is clad in Rheinzink, a versatile material which can be detailed finely and maintains an ever-changing surface patina. The timber cladding is Western Red Cedar, known for its lightness and durability.
David Southwood ©