Today’s gallery features the stunning Cove house, a South African cliff-top creation by SAOTA, Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects.
The home, located on a cliff overlooking the sea to the East and South, stands in the Pezula Estate outside Knysna.
The design firm aimed to create a singular living space with unified roof, reflecting the slope of the site. The roof is set sufficiently high to float out of the residents’ line of sight from the living space, nurturing the illusion that one is sitting in the landscape rather than indoors. A large triangular cutout in the roof reinforces the connection with the sky.
Solar analysis was performed in an effort to direct sunlight, other than Eastern morning rays, out of the building. A midlevel horizontal sunscreen was added to the double height glass façade, while the skylight is protected by a timber screen to mitigate the scale of the double volume space. The space is wrapped in performance glass designed to minimize the impact of direct sunlight.
The can be approached from the North West, with a low and horizontal elevation. The construction materials, such as off-shutter concrete, Rheinzink roofing, timber cladding, stone, and exposed aggregate, were chosen to allow the building to fade into the landscape as it ages.
The entire structure is orientated towards the ocean views; with an entrance at the upper level of the double volume looking towards the ocean, there is a powerful contrast with the external approach. A grand stair leads into the living level, which holds the kitchen, dining room, and living room. On the right side, the landscaping is pulled into the building, blurring the distinction between the indoors and out.
All photography by Adam Letch, John Devonport, and Micky Hoyle of VISI.
Profile view of the landscape highlights the blended-in nature of the structure, with a roof slant paralleling the slope. Floor to ceiling glass allows for spectacular ocean views.
An elevated look at the home showcases the wood and stone structure settling into the landscape seamlessly.
With a closer look at the entrance, we see the natural blending of timber and stone, along with an expansive pebble garden at right, surrounding the front door space.
Viewing the home from the open, ocean facing side, we glimpse a wild expanse of glass and timber, with open views throughout and a powerful, two story open
The patio wraps the home with wood planks, a stone path, and small lawn next to the pool. We see the sloped roof hovering above the glass wrapped structure, offering unobscured views all around.
With the glass panels fully retracted, the distinction between indoor living room space and outer patio are blurred entirely. At center we see a white sectional, pair of chairs, and glass top table resting on a white area rug.
Moving into the home, we see the grand staircase leading from the main entrance at center, with staggered, sloping layers of timber across the roof and descending into a shade at left. Glass wrapped central stair spire at right leads to bedroom areas.
With a vertical, angled view of the central open space, we see the towering views afforded by double height windows, while the stone and glass spiral staircase at right connects the layers. Subtle under-stair lighting glows in lower area.
From a raised perspective, we see the glowing steps descending from the main entryway, along with the concrete cubic structure surrounding. The two levels are separated by black I-beams with a glass railing wrapped around the edge.
Large dining area with glass table and black leather chairs sits in the right corner, below a more private living room space and kitchen on the lower level. Above, curtains provide privacy for resident quarters.
From a fresh angle, we see the white countertop and bar stools flanking the kitchen space on the lower left. The cozy living room area to the right can be seen next to the spiral staircase, and the oceanside is in view at right.
Moving into the lower shared kitchen and living room space, we see a contemporary sectional and pair of dark leather ottomans flanking a marble topped coffee table, with the kitchen seen at right, over white countertops. Ceiling cut-out glows with recessed lighting.
On the upper level, we see a secondary living room space, with beige sectional and glass topped, rustic wood coffee table standing on stone flooring. Full height glass panels retract to blend the space with upper balcony.
At the center of the upstairs area, we see this cozy space standing below a circular cut white ceiling piece, surrounded by dark stained wood. Small fireplace built into far wall is complemented by large sunset artwork and log-style, glass-topped coffee table.
The master bedroom, like every other space in the home, opens onto the balcony via retractible glass panels. A large curtain system, open here, can be drawn for privacy.
Upper level bathroom features a white pedestal tub with full view of the surrounding ocean. Dark stained floating wood cabinetry supports a white countertop dual vanity with seamless mirrors.
Glancing through the frameless glass panels surrounding the upper balcony, we see the large expanse of timber patio, open design two story living room, and surrounding lido pool with expansive views of the cliffs and ocean.
At night, we see the interior lighting spilling outward to the surrounding patio, boasting an infinity style wraparound pool and jacuzzi framed in stone in the foreground.
The bright interior lighting dramatically coheres with the glowing inner lighting of the wraparound pool, helping blur the lines between indoors and out even at night.
Here we have a final shot of the ocean facing side of the home at dusk, with the soft glow of indirect light shining through.
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