The antipodal requirements of privacy and togetherness drove the concept and development of this villa, which was to be the home of an extended family spanning three generations. With three couples and two children forming the members of the closely-knit unit, the design had to make room for seclusion and solitude, and shared areas that would allow congregations of different sizes. Inspiration for design can come from the most unexpected of places, and this one took off from that most fundamental building block of digital imagery — the pixel. And while this may be so, its spirit is rooted in nature, as the home emerged from an intent to embrace natural conditions, taking advantage of views, orientation, and form. To create an understated presence and the appropriate levels of privacy and separation, the architecture was developed as a series of setbacks and stacked volumes to create a stepped form. Besides creating small congregational areas, this staggering also gave the design team opportunities to expand the amount of garden space within the internal spaces. The material application strategy respects this ‘geometricity’, with large areas of (seemingly overlapped) surfaces featuring natural stone, exposed concrete and paint, a palette which also helps in maintaining the thermal mass. The architectural form explores the idea of sheltered balconies, overhangs and spaces-under-spaces in a bid to allow each room to face the front (north) garden, as a response to the region’s hot, dry climate. The result is a structure that is gently extroverted yet retains enough privacy.
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