Wild Plum Tree House / Daniel Maggs Architects
Text description provided by the architects. The house is set on the upper city slopes of Table Mountain, at the edge of the Mountain Reserve. It sits in a beautiful established garden site with mature wild plum trees and terraces stepping down towards the street. The house plan is a rectangle arranged across the slope, reusing the retaining walls and footprint of an older structure, so as not to disturb the existing trees and garden. The House opens onto three separate garden terraces, at different levels.
On the ground floor, the house provides flexible working spaces, including a studio, offices, and a flat. On the first floor are the main living spaces and bedrooms. The second floor includes bedrooms and a games room. The front of the house is articulated as an inhabitable brise soleil. This structure frames a double-volume view of Lions Head mountain while regulating the sunlight and encompassing a verandah and a crow’s nest.
The main circulation is positioned in the middle of the house and acts as a giant articulated lantern, which is naturally lit from above in the daytime and artificially lit at night, bringing a soft diffused light into the adjacent spaces. The living spaces are sheltered by a butterfly-shaped roof with giant water collecting channel in the middle, supplying rainwater tanks. The profile of the sloped roof allows for a variety of interesting spaces below, with differing ceiling heights and slopes, both high rooms and low tapering spaces.
With sliding walls the spaces are flexible and transformable, allowing for a variety of different uses. The materials of the house are largely brick and plaster walls, with some off shutter concrete, steel and timber. The house is largely off-grid and designed to largely modulate the climate in a passive manner. The overall impression is of a ‘beached ship’ sitting amongst the trees and gradually merging into the garden.