Jun 261983
Project Info

Name: House Nxumalo
Client: Dr. Theresa Nxumalo
Location: Alexandra, Johannesburg
Status: Built 1988

This small house was designed for a local doctor who worked in Alexandra Township outside Johannesburg.

The section is made to maximize on the view, the slope across the site and orientation. One enters at a midpoint from which one can descend to the living space or ascend to the bedrooms above.

The section is split in the middle with a roof light, which floods the center of the house and brings natural light to all three levels simultaneously, thereby giving a sense of a much larger and more generous set of spaces.

A new walling system was used, which reduced the thickness of the external walls by 76 per cent. Over a footprint of sixty square meters and using the Fresnel Square principal, this made an additional seven square meters of floor area for the owner of the house.

Architecturally the house develops further the ideas of a literal transparency in which the spatial strategy of the house is revealed externally through the way in which the structural order is assembled on the two end elevations.

Similarly the architect sought to make the building more accessible by revealing the nature of the materials and systems of assembly chosen for the house. All elements are revealed in  a didactic way and their relationships to one another are made abundantly clear through a system of detailing, which seeks to show how different systems of joining materials together  reveal the construction strategy of the design.

This small house has shaped the approach that the practice has adopted with regard to the design of houses in the future and can be seen as one of several prototypical house designs that have been adopted by the practice since then.