A completely new living condition has emerged in the countryside once defined by open terrain, grazing and crop-land, an occasional dry-packed stone kraal wall, wire fence or homestead.
With a desire to live in the countryside but not in agricultural isolation, a version of the homestead has been relocated and recreated in close enough proximity to its neighbours not to feel isolated, but with enough space around it to feel like it’s not urbanity.
In this relocation, the multiple buildings of the homestead becomes the single house, natural materiality becomes suburban, loosely defined in-between spaces become a lawn – even eclectic handed-down furniture and artefacts are often replaced with the new.
Our effort is to transition more of the defining attributes of the homestead into its new context. The house is divided into two separate, solid, raw brick structures to accommodate the sleeping and storage areas. Referencing the extruded agricultural farm-shed, these brick structures are connected with a fully glazed cooking, eating, and living verandah that can be closed in the icy cold winters and fully opened in the searing summers.
Facing east and west, warmed by early morning and late afternoon sunlight, the bedrooms are contained and private. In total contrast, the ‘verandah’ is shared, opening from its elevated position to the long southern view, and receiving it’s northern warmth from a typically protected courtyard, the in-between space so essential to the character of the rural homestead.
At the south-eastern junction of the heavy and the light, the traditional communal family kitchen bathes in the morning light. At the opposite south-western junction, the media room corresponds with the slowness that comes with the setting of the sun.
Gowrie Farm, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands
SAIA Award of Merit (2010)