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REEDS

Natal, South Africa

Life at the Reeds is pure and uncomplicated. Of course, this doesn’t preclude extreme comfort, luxury and privilege. “Simplicity is more a reference to pure, uncomplicated pursuits, such as fishing, bird watching, hiking and just watching and feeling the slow, unmistakable change of the seasons.” The home draws its nuance from the subtle changes in the topography. The structure seeks out a site in which to become embedded and interconnected. A gabion spine wall anchors the house into a fold or crevice in the ground, using the steady temperature of the earth for passive heating and cooling. The living room and kitchen areas open up onto a viewing deck, which affectionately came to be known as “the sun-trap”. Inside, the kitchen acts as the central core of the house, washed with sunlight that is absorbed by the rock bed below the floor and radiated back into the house at night. Conceived of like a clam, the spine wall acts as the fixed shell, with sliding wooden shutters traveling along the secondary walls in order to calibrate the desired levels of exposure. Configured to optimize solar orientation, the walls create an indoor-outdoor living court bending around a central pond. This mini-dam collects water harvested off the sloping roofs, and stores it for irrigation and convection cooling. The pond intermittently empties into the wetland, threading the house into the existing wetland ecology.

Landscape

Grasslands

Year Completed

2005

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