Johannesburg-based studio Nico Van Der Meulen Architects has completed the Eccleston Drive Residence.
This 15,000 square foot luxury residence sits on a sloped one-acre lot in Bryanston, an upper class, wealthy residential suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa.
House in Bryanston by Nico Van Der Meulen Architects
“Due to the slope of the stand, a large basement was designed on the lower side of the property, creating a stepped effect on the stand.
Upon entering through the gatehouse you look down the sloping driveway with several large cantilevers protruding from the building, some in rust, other areas clad with unfilled travertine, and an atrium behind a mentis grating screen.
Next to the front door a large reflective koi pond flows over a retaining wall next to the drive way, with an illuminated glass staircase behind a two storey curtain wall in the background. The lift shaft forms a strong vertical element finished in rust behind the pond. All of this is framed by a cantilevered concrete beam. The staircase behind the koi pond is a double glass construction, with lights between the two layers of glass. Above the lower garage a huge cantilevered structure hangs out, suspended by beams built into its roof.
The front door is a large piece of pivoted frameless glass, leading into a double volume entrance hall and formal lounge with a view across the lounge and pool into the garden beyond. A bridge suspended by steel cables spans across this space.
The only wall in the lounge is a double height wall punctured by a 4m long fireplace and several illuminated niches, with a coffered ceiling with rope lights over it. All the other walls are glass.
The lounge leads directly onto the deck next to the pool through full width frameless stacking doors, and through the bar to the lanai. An atrium allows the residents to open the living rooms to cool breezes.
The study leads off from a hallway opening into another atrium, and this hallway connects with the garages and guest bedroom. To the other side you go past the atrium with the staircase leading up and down on the other side, to the family room, lift, dining room, kitchen and service areas. The family room is also double volume, with the private lounge off the main bedroom as a mezzanine to this area, and the covered balcony to the main suite cantilevering into the double volume space, covered in slats, painted grey.
The house was designed around three massive trees, one at the tennis court, and the other two on the east side of the house. The view from the hall towards the east is into one of these trees, framed by a large sliding window in the kitchen. You can feed the birds from the kitchen window!
To the north of the lounge, bar and family/ breakfast room is an oversized lanai and patio, with an eighteen metre infinity edge pool beyond that. The kitchen, breakfast room and family room leads seamlessly through wall to wall frameless sliding doors onto the patio, with the dining room situated behind the family room, sharing a fireplace with the family room. When the doors are open, the family room, breakfast room, open and covered patio and kitchen becomes one large area.
Parts of the dining room floor is glass, with a view down into the koi pond, and two huge lights from M Square are suspended over the dining room table. The kitchen is an open plan layout to the family room, breakfast room, and lanai. Behind the black glass back wall a pantry is hidden, and around the corner is a cold room and scullery/laundry.
The basement consists of a gym with spa and dressing room, home theatre with a wet bar, wine cellar/tasting room with separate areas for white and red wines, music room and a dance studio/ discotheque. The wall connecting these rooms has vertical slits lit with fluorescent lights at the back of the slits.
The first floor consists of three kid’s suites, with a pyjama lounge with its own mini kitchenette, and an open plan main suite with a private lounge and a panic room fitted with a kitchenette and desk/ dressing table.
All suites and the lounges leads onto balconies. The main suite has a covered balcony that juts into the family room below, and fireplaces in the private lounge, main bedroom and one outdoors on the balcony.
The main bathroom is divided by a fireplace from the main bathroom and built into the same tree as the kitchen below, again with a massive sliding panel opening into the tree. The toilet and bidet are housed in a dark glass enclosure to cut it off from the open plan suite.
A bridge suspended by stainless steel cable span across the double volume spaces, with views to north, east and south, and a bridge across the atrium below connects a large balcony to the house.
From the north the house is framed by several beams, with the pond spilling over a three metre wall. Due to its north orientation, sun control features and cross ventilation, the house can be used almost year round without artificial heating or cooling.”
Photos courtesy of Nico Van Der Meulen Architects