Spine Wall House by Drew Architects in Johannesburg, South Africa

Project: Spine Wall House
Architects: Drew Architects
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Area: 5,597 sf
Photographs by: Tristan McLaren

Spine Wall House by Drew Architects

The Spine Wall House is a spectacular contemporary dwelling located on a plot overlooking a golf course in Johannesburg, South Africa. This single-story dwelling was designed by Drew Architects and offers just under 6,000 square feet of amazing living spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

The site is located overlooking a golf course fairway on a prominent Johannesburg golf estate. Orientation is due north-east and there are distant views beyond the golf course to the horizon.

Access is taken from the south-west and the site is positioned on a bend on one of the main arterial roads within the estate. The land is predominantly flat with no natural features other than two thorn trees on the golf course interface.

The home was designed for a bachelor with limited mobility looking for a modern, single story home characterized by a strong connection to nature and views from all rooms in the home. The client loves natural materials and the bushveld and was looking for a home which imbued a sense of being away in the bushveld: a place of comfort, a refuge from the world but reinterpreted in a more contemporary, urban context.

Given the clients requirement for a sense of seclusion and privacy and the location of the site on the bend of a main arterial roadway within the estate, the departure point for the design and defining gesture of the home is a large dry-packed natural stone wall which defines the line between public and private space. The intention to create a sense of protection and enclosure on the private side of the home but also to create an increased sense of interest and anticipation in the approaching visitor by the restrained use of line, form, pattern and materiality on the street.

The bulk of the home hunkers down behind the spine wall, the only suggestion of what lies beyond being three chimney structures with an intentionally exaggerated vertical scale and a steel and timber roof terrace structure above the main terrace space. Given the position of the site the architects felt that providing an opportunity to access the incredible views and perspective from a first floor vantage point was too valuable an opportunity to miss. Accordingly, the architects planned a rooftop entertainment space taking full advantage of the panoramic views available looking north down the 13th fairway and to the horizon beyond accessed from the ground floor entertainment space.

The spine wall also defines the primary movement route within the home and, whether experienced from inside or outside the home, provides powerful visual legibility.

A naturally filtered koi pond runs the length of the wall on both sides which not only provides life and movement at the wall but also the illusion, through reflection, that the wall continues into the ground.

Natural materials such as dry-packed stone, solid hardwood, solid granite tiles and copper create contrasted against more clean, contemporary materials such glass and off-shutter concrete.

Drew Architects


Tags: contemporary, Drew Architects, Johannesburg, luxury, South Africa, Spine Wall House

Author: Fidan Jovanov


A young enthusiast with a passion for home decor and architecture, I love writing articles that inspire and guide readers in transforming their spaces into stylish, functional, and beautiful environments.


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