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view from deck between garage and new pavilion

view from main pavilion looking south

The brief for the housekeepers pavilion was to design another small house on the property which added value to the existing house and its dramatic site. This challenge was to place a third pavilion in relation to the existing pavilions respecting the privacy of both owner and employee.

The aim of the design for the housekeeper’s pavilion was to achieve a building which respects and celebrates not only the site but also to mediate the power relations in the dwellings for owner and housekeeper. The small pavilion is perched on piers linked by its own small bridge to the secondary and primary entrances to the house. Living, cooking, bathing and sleeping space is defined by a diagonal wall, bay window and the mezzanine. Perched on piers, the pavilion allows the natural topography of the site to flow freely below. The mezzanine allows the footprint of the new pavilion to be only 15m². The big bay window is a built in coach and has views into beautiful indigenous olive trees on the site. The housekeeper pavilion has good access, views, north sun and a generous worktop inside. Its relationship to the two existing pavilions is to form a beautiful floating timber screen.

The original Weaver’s Nest was designed as a small house on the slopes of Table Mountain site which has a small stream running through it. The aim was to achieve a building which respects and celebrates the difficult site. Two small pavilions, perched delicately on piers and linked by a bridge, offer a responsible solution to the steeply sloping wooded site. The two pavilions, connected by the bridge, allow the stream and natural topography of the site to flow freely below. The unprotected walkways between the pavilions heighten the sense of dwelling in nature.

Like the existing building, the main axis of the new pavilion is perpendicular to the road, its narrowest aspect on Higgo Road. Only the narrowest wall with the smallest openings is visible from the road. From neighbouring vantage points view corridors are respected. Vertical piers together with the specific selection of materials cause the new building to merge with garden and existing buildings on site. Materials are timber, glass and steel.

The new pavilion is separated from the garage by its access bridge. Steel props or piers create a platform on which a timber box is perched. The timber box rests on this platform like a nest in the crook of a branch. The ordered spatial grid set up by the piers of the existing house gives a regular geometry, which is offset against the natural. The regular geometry gives coherence, clarity and intensity to the design. The new pavilion has a diagonal wall which leads the eye to the centre of the site, away from itself; but the wall also widens the space inside the small pavilion to make it feel even more generous than it is. The bay window and double volume further increases the sense of space. The windows views up to Table Mountain to the south and down into the trees to the west.

The small pavilion is essentially about refuge with glazed areas providing selective prospect into the treed site. The small timber building is nestled against the garage, protecting it from cold air which roles down the mountain slope behind at night. The big bay window is protected by a slatted screen that that easily slides away drawing one into the garden and into the west sun.

The small bridge both links and separates the new pavilion from the rest of the site. In the creek the natural topography is left untouched. Crossing the small bridge to reach the more secluded pavillion, one makes a mental transition from work to rest.

The proposal represents a very responsible approach to restraint development on this beautifully wooded site on the slopes of Table Mountain.

The importance of the landscape and its influence on design came from the teaching of seminal Australian architects, Glen Murcutt, Rick Leplastrier and Peter Stutchbury. Other strong social and architectural influences come from Roeloff Uytenbogaardt, Jo Noero and Iain Low.