Camp Robberg Residence

A home that pays homage to its environment and history

Completed November 2010

Situated, in a pristine enclave on the coast of South Africa: perched on a dune amongst a handful of homes and cradled by the Robberg peninsula reserve, ancestral dwelling of the KhoiSan.

A passionate owner: with a sense of responsibility to the environment.

The brief:

To build a home that would “pay homage to the Robberg peninsula”
This vision inspired the process, elevating Camp Robberg beyond ‘the next beach house’


A campsite in an indigenous forest and more than 60 planted trees, following the contours of the dune.

The lower roof shapes an origami dune-scape, planted with carefully selected endemic flora. The sculptural elevations of the ground floor are elusive and dynamic. They do not form an iconic image, but change relative to the point of observation. The transparency of this floor allows for vistas and spacial flow between dune, forest, ocean and Robberg. The stylized shapes of the first floor stand in contrast to the reconstructed dune it resides on. The rounded profiles sit comfortably in the natural environment.

Layout: pockets of accommodation within mostly open space for a multi generation family holidaying together. The client’s acute sense for space and clean understanding of simplicity and drama, reflects in the living/ entertainment area comprising two outside patios, straddling an interior lounge/dining room. Using giant sliders these may be turned into one large open area or any configuration thereof, depending on wind direction. Materials: The unconventional topographical shape of the planted roof is made possible by the tensile strength of reinforced concrete left exposed in various planes to reveal the woodgrain texture of shuttering, reflecting the brutalistic nature of the headland. Large expanses of laminated, float glass fill the gaps between sparsely spaced structural support. Raw wooden shutters and pergolas evoke the historical lumber industry and shipwrecks that dot the coastline.

Mountain Rock Residence

The house is on a grassy field on a farm with views on mountains. Design was based on two alternating Tri-grams as a Genius Loci. The trigram is a symbol from Taoist cosmology


Mountain & Earth(rock)

Three semi-parallel wings that may represent either solid or broken lines depending on the opening and closing of certain sliding doors. The aesthetic reminds of the earthen structures of North West Africa that seemingly emerge from the ground.

Upper Deck Commercial

The Site is a triangular island of 2099m2 at one of the principal junctions in Plettenberg Bay. In the 60’s this was the most densely built block in the cbd. All that remained, was The Old Post Office surrounded by an unkempt garden.

The project consists of two levels of nine penthouses, each with a private lift and a spectacular view of the Bay. Below, the Piazza skirted by boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

The building needed to be articulated in a way as not to appear monolithic. Different architectural forms were fused into a continuous flow to simulate the varied shapes of a village environment. Textures were used to further accentuate the separate forms. We celebrated the Old Post Office by wrapping the new around it.

There is a strong reference to marine architecture. The intention with all the penthouses was to bring the light, the big sky, the mountains and the sea into the living environment as if on a glamorous ocean liner. The cantilever lip on the balustrades was designed to deflect noise from below and provide privacy by screening line of sight. This became a strong architectural element.

The curved wooden screen is transparent and glows like a lantern at night becoming both beacon and vessel.

The building was designed without any anchors in mind. We earmarked the restaurant sites and the rest fitted in between. We always wanted to have a vibrant Piazza. A place for Plettonians to congregate, to relax, to experience the view, not easily seen from the rest of town.

Glass Box Addition

In Feb. 2003 we were commissioned to maximize the spectacular views of this heritage house in a creative way that would also reflect the current times.

The house is in Pretoria on the ridge of Meintjieskop, near the Union Buildings, with uninterrupted views over the city to the south and the Jacaranda covered suburbs and Magaliesberg to the North. It was designed in around 1933 by Gerard Moerdyk (architect of the Voortrekker Monument).

The Technology:

Due to the hi-tech design of the laminated double glazing in the walls and roof the climate achieved inside has exceeded all expectation. The air conditioning provided is rarely used, summer or winter. Flooring off 42mm laminated iron-free glass, to achieve a clear view, rather than the expected green tint of traditional glass.

The design:

The design is a glass box, suspended in mid air with minimal support. This is ‘clipped’ onto the elevation. Apart from the transparent quality of the Box, where one can still see the original elevation without too much obstruction, where the view is a three dimensional experience with sky above and water below, where every viewer becomes an exhibition, apart from this the reflective quality of the glass lends a completely un-expected experience to the viewer. This has the quality of a sculptural installation. An experience beyond the technology of construction.