Stonehaven is a small farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, on the banks of the Bosdam, which operated originally as an artist’s retreat. The new owners approached us as architects for the farm house and farm shed, which were completed a few years ago. A number of existing cottages in dilapidated condition were scattered over the property. These were demolished and rebuilt as flexible cottages suitable for guests and staff. The guest cottages are intended to function as retreat spaces in communion with their surroundings. Two bedroom units were required, which could function as either shared accommodation or as a single dwelling. Robust, low budget and low maintenance buildings were considered appropriate.
The two essential components of the experience offered by the guest houses are retreat and communion with nature. The solid massy cubic forms of the bedrooms embody ‘retreat’. The inside/ outside quality of the intervening living area encourages an immersion in the green surroundings. The house essentially offers two contrasting senses of place. At the same time, as a collection of two solids and a void, the house resonates quietly with its surrounding landscape of distant mountains and rolling valley foothills.
A sense of the timeless, the enduring and the necessary are woven into this conception.
David Southwood ©