These two houses commissioned by private developers located in the leafy suburb of Craighall Park. They reinterpret the surrounding suburban landscape each forming a unique architectural response to the very real and often conflicting needs of a contemporary Johannesburg home. The brief called for space efficient design that maximized use of the relatively small sites, at the same time designing for flexibility that would permit the houses to be used as guest lodges with very little adjustment.
The guiding design principal is the layering of the house by levels. The living spaces occupying the ground floor flow out into external courtyards, while the upper layer of sleeping spaces carefully crop views into the treetops of the surrounding urban forest. The uniqueness of the houses are derived to their responses to their sites. The Grosvenor street house occupies a corner site and pulls up the pavement up to its walls on two sides. The long rectangular house doubles the interior spaces by opening it up to external walled courtyards. The 3 leveled Devonshire street house occupies a long deep site. From the street the upper two floors read as a floating block above the singular plane of the steel garage gates that extend from boundary to boundary. Although modern in overall form the Johannesburg vernacular is read in both houses albeit reinterpretation. Large sheltered stoeps mediate between inside and outside, Bay windows house freestanding baths, rough surfaces contrasts smooth ones and a carefully detailed corrugated iron roof overhang speaks of the old Johannesburg houses etched in our common memory.