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Nico van der Meulen Architects
Architecture by Nico van der Meulen Architects seen at Private Residence, Mooikloof, Pretoria - House Boz
Image credit: David Ross

House Boz

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Nico van der Meulen Architects have years of experience in designing sustainably. A well designed energy efficient home not only takes the environment into account but also ensures that the overall running costs of the home are significantly reduced. All the firm's designs are based on passive design principles which incorporate the study of sun angles vs shading devises, the correct placement of windows and doors, incorporating well insulated materials into the design and recycling and reusing waste water and rain water on the site. These are but a few principles incorporated into all designs by Nico van der Meulen Architects.

House Boz situated on a hill within a secluded nature estate in Pretoria East was originally destined for a very different location on a hillside in Mafikeng.
Boasting 180 degree views of the whole of Pretoria, this monumentally elevated site close to a hectare in size, boldly exhibits the latest architectural masterpiece by Nico van der Meulen Architects.

The client requested a spacious and luxurious four bedroom house with an emphasis placed on the design of the living rooms. Ensuring that the magnificent views were optimized was of utmost importance and the design of this 770 sq.m house responds well not only to the client’s requirements but also to the context of the site.
The concept of a bush lodge arose from the vastness of the site and the natural setting of the stand within the estate. Werner van der Meulen of Nico van der Meulen Architects was inspired to design a house that resembled a bush lodge in the way it responds to nature and its immediate surroundings.

Translating this concept into a contemporary home was almost effortless thanks to the location, orientation and natural beauty of the site. Every design decision communicates and reinforces the concept, as can be seen in the selection of materials used and the way the internal spaces relate to the outdoors. Limiting the choice of materials to predominately natural materials and earthy colours, it is evident that even the smallest of details make reference to the concept in a very unique way.

Encouraging the use of natural materials reduces the carbon footprint of a project because sourcing local building materials reduces transportation costs. For this reason, the firm decided to use the quartzite rock quarried from site and cladding main feature walls in this stone. It is common practice for Nico van der Meulen Architects to see what the site has to offer and how to work with it.

Approaching the stand via a long driveway, you are afforded the opportunity to appreciate the design from a distance before actually getting close enough to appreciate its spaces. The striking square and rectangular forms are strategically positioned to capture your attention while the rusted steel boxes and stone-cladded walls aid in camouflaging the house creating a sense of unity between building and site.

The stretched screen walls seem to want to reach beyond their borders while floating steel boxes are gracefully suspended in mid air. The prominent east-west and north-south axes link and connect all the spaces while this point of collision and interception of the axes becomes the centre of the home and it is here where we find the living room and covered patio.

Thanks to the views being orientated towards North, the entire Northern façade has the ability to open up and live out onto the expansive views thus also naturally lighting and heating the house in winter, while carefully designed overhangs and brise-soleil keep the summer sum out; all of these features make the home energy efficient.

The entrance hall positioned between the double garages is distinctively located alongside a partially covered atrium that gently introduce you to several view through the house as you’re welcomed in.The koi pond introduces water as you approach the front door while various podiums add depth and dimension to this space. An elevated sculpture podium and interlocking planters bring this atrium to life. At the same time it makes it possible to sleep with open doors as it is impossible to get into the atrium once the Mentis grating gate to the driveway is locked.

The double volume entrance hall is framed by a back-lit perforated skin of scaffolding boards bolted to a wall, creating the perfect backdrop for the sculptural looking concrete staircase with steel inlays.

The kitchen overlooks the lanai and garden while the frameless folding doors create an invisible threshold between the inside and out. These doors, when completely open, allow for the kitchen and dining room to overflow onto the lanai and bar, making entertaining effortless and enabling adults to keep an eye on kids in the pool, a mere meter away.

The lanai with a sunken Jacuzzi is snuggly positioned between the pool on one side and a stone-cladded wall on the west which screens the afternoon sun to ensure the lanai’s temperature remains moderate. Design decisions such as these is what truly sets this house apart from the rest.

All four en suite bedrooms are situated on the first floor with all of the bedrooms having their own private balcony. The three children’s bedrooms are situated on the western wing of the house while the main bedroom is located on the eastern wing. A suspended walkway with steel sheeting as floor tiles, overlooking the atrium links the two wings and creates a sense of privacy for the main bedroom.

Challenges arose during the construction process however Nico van der Meulen Architects clearly pushed the boundaries on this design.
This house prides itself in its design for luxury indoor/outdoor living in the heart of nature where internal spaces effortlessly expand beyond their often invisible borders to a world of beauty outside.

The variety and combination of textures used in this design create a synergy in this home which makes it truly unique.

Photographs by: Barend Roberts and David Ross

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Context & Credits

Nico van der Meulen Architects

Meet the Creator

Creators of WOW!, functional contemporary architecture.

Nico and Santa van der Meulen created Nico van der Meulen Architects in 1984, and has since built it into a global brand, designing contemporary buildings in more than 40 countries.