Swartberg House by Openstudio Architects
Designed by the London-based firm Openstudio Architects, the Swartberg House is a holiday home for a couple with a young child. The contemporary residence is located on the edge of the Great Karoo in South Africa.
The key design feature of this home is that it is designed with small slots based on the positions of constellations that puncture the walls, bringing light during the day while offering starry views at night.
It occupies land formerly used for sheep farming at the edge of South Africa’s semi-desert Great Karoo region, which regularly enjoys clear, starry nights.
From the architects: “The desert house on the edge of the Great Karoo in South Africa meets the mountain and sky with an uneven profile that suggests its inherent flexibility. Internal spaces are differentiated by views and volume and allow heat to dissipate and wind to cool the house.
The day/night, light/dark character of the house is emphasized by the large glazed doors, which slide into rough-cast plaster walls, and small scattered openings, which allow shafts of light to penetrate into shadows, and follow the positions of stars in constellations visible from the upper roof terraces.
The house is designed to work according to passive solar principles. In the light and heat of summer the house can be shuttered, while in winter the large openings act as suncatchers.”