• Glass House/ Nico Van Der Meulen Architects

Architects: Nico van der Meulen Architects  
Location: Senderwood, Johannesburg,  South Africa
Project Year: 2008
Photographer: Bary Goldman, David Ross and Nico van der Meulen

Residence size: 2068 m²

With the advent of newer and faster technology, Africa and the world is seen a paradigm shift in the way buildings are designed and constructed. The glass House by Nico Van der Meulen describes just this, a holy union of steel and glass in an almost cyclic planning concept that seems to both introvert certain aspects of the spaces within the residential house and still yet extrovert others towards experiencing the natural gardens created in the process.

Project architect Nico states that the house exemplifies a spirit of luxury, extravagance, practicality and vastness of scale that is noted to provide an intimate and homely task towards pushing limits of materiality and the art of space making.

 

Situated on an acre of land in an old, established suburb of Johannesburg South Africa, the Glass House completed at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009 occupies 2500 square meters of the stand in  a land originally occupied by a prior design. The project architects sort to reinvent the site with contemporary and powerful forms that would draw inspiration from the concept of a horse shoe form that radiated outwards. In keeping with this concept, the atrium, positioned centrally became the focal point of the home and all the rooms were designed to radiate outwards from this point.

Description form the Architects
The circular walls which graciously guide you towards the entrance and elegantly lead you through the house are an indication of how the form of this house was derived from the initial concept. With an evident emphasis on the atrium and koi pond at the center of this design, it is unmistakable that the entire house is an expression of concentric lines that ripple outwards.

Housing a basement garage large enough to accommodate 14 cars, you soon realize the expansiveness of the scale of this house. A 25m long sky lit art gallery serves as the passage linking the parking to the lift with glass panels inserted into the ground floor above enabling you to appreciate the art from the floor above. A window into the swimming pool from the basement creates interest into what would ordinarily be a dark, dull room.

The slightly raised driveway encourages you to look over the dining room through the house captivating your attention on the views of the garden. Gracefully swept in by the curving walls, it is not long before a sense of arrival overcomes you when you suddenly look up and notice the curved floating glass roof overhead. Walking over a water feature as you pass through the large glass front door, it is apparent that this is the same water feature that stretches and extends all the way outside creating a visual link between your arrival and the koi pond positioned in the middle of the atrium. Also known as the penthouse for koi, this pond is built entirely out of glass and is raised above the ground.

 

Ultimately, the glass house personifies a contemporary approach to design where bold forms and solid ideas are the norm and it does little to disappoint in its delivery of that statement.

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