House of the Big Arch, Waterberg Green Home, South African Sustainable Architecture, Eco Building Images

House of the Big Arch in Waterberg

29 Jan 2020

House of the Big Arch

Design: Frankie Pappas

Location: Waterberg, South Africa

House of the Big Arch Waterberg South Africa

House of the Big Arch occupies a unique place in a nature reserve situated in the Waterberg Mountains of South Africa; A landscape of remarkable plants, inspiring cliffs, and prodigious wildlife

House of the Big Arch Waterberg by Frankie Pappas

The brief was to design a home that disappears into the landscape; That sits amongst the rocks and trees and birds;
That offers animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter; That treats the bushveld with its deserved respect.

House of the Big Arch Waterberg by Frankie Pappas

The underlying concept was to bridge the landscape between riverine forest and sandstone cliff, whilst raising the living space into the tree canopy, amongst the abundant arboreal life

Waterberg Green Home

The building is organised as one long thin building which slots between the forest trees. The shapes of the additions to the central building are dictated by the position and size of the surrounding trees (not one tree was demolished during the construction of this home).

South African Sustainable Architecture

The building makes use of a very simple set of materials which all play their part in making the building part of its landscape
The most abundant material is a rough stock brick which was selected to match the site’s weathered sandstone. The ‘bridge’ portions of the building are constructed from sustainably-grown timbers, whilst glass and aluminium fill in the non-structural wall

South African Sustainable Building

The first floor offers to its inhabitants a planted courtyard, a reclusive lounge, a sunlit dining room, a farmhouse kitchen and scullery, a tree-shaded deck, a small pool and a fireplace – around which most of the cooking and living occurs the ground floor provides yet more courtyards, a study, library and a small swing bench under the arch. The cellar creates a climate conducive to curing meats, storing food supplies and ageing wines

Waterberg Mountain nature reserve Building

Because Frankie Pappas were building in a nature reserve – and with very clear instructions from the clients – not a single tree was to be harmed during the construction of the building

Frankie Pappas designed an incredibly thin building
– 3300mm wide –
This allowed us to thread the building through the treescape
Any funky bulges and protrusions in the plan of the building were dictated by where trees allowed us to build

Waterberg Mountain Building

In order to further ensure that no tree would be harmed, Frankie Pappas laser-scanned the entire site
and then converted this information into a digital 3d model so that they could see every tree and every branch when making critical design decisions

Frankie Pappas were in essence designing this building in a digital forest

House of the Big Arch Waterberg South Africa

The clients are an elderly couple, whose love and knowledge of the bushveld is extraordinary and inspiring
Every tree and bush and insect and bird and mammal is a personal friend of theirs

They are enthusiastically involved in the environmental education of underprivileged youngsters from the surrounding areas
Opening up their farm to- and sharing their experience with these kids
When asked why they are so involved, their answer is typically salt-of-and-down-to-earth:
‘there is too much beauty here for us to use up all by ourselves’

House of the Big Arch Waterberg

This building is a careful and direct response to this particular portion of this particular riverine forest of this particular portion of the waterberg of this particular portion of the bushveld this architecture could exist nowhere else in the world

The entire house is off-the-grid. Completely and utterly.
Water from the roofs is collected and filtered through the forest. Black- and greywater is stored and processed before being filtered by the undergrowth. Energy is harvested by 16sqm of solar panels

House of the Big Arch Waterberg

But more important than this, is that the architecture works with its environment to create breeze and shade and comfort
which allows it to have minimal energy demands.

Frankie Pappas’ closing thought:
We cannot ever divide architecture, landscape and gardening: they are one

House of the Big Arch Waterberg

House of the Big Arch, South Africa – Building Information

Full Professional Team: Frankie Pappas

Project size: 120 sqm
Site size: 55000000 sqm
Completion date: 2017
Building levels: 3

House of the Big Arch Waterberg

Photography: Frankie Pappas

House of the Big Arch in Waterberg, South Africa images / information received 251119

Location: Waterberg, South Africa


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Comments / photos for the House of the Big Arch in Waterberg – South Africa Mountains nature reserve Building page welcome

Website: Waterberg