When it comes to architectural geniuses, South Africa needn’t stand back. In fact, our country is home to some of the most splendid structures, both modern and historical. Sure, we may not have an Eiffel Tower or a colourful St. Basil's Cathedral, but we do flaunt the Union Buildings, the Voortrekker Monument, the Castle of Good Hope, the Bosjes Chapel, Alice Lane Towers, and many other impressive designs.
And that brings us to today’s piece, where we focus exclusively on residential designs by proudly South African architects and designers. From super contemporary and modern to colonial and farm-style rustic, these gems showcase some of the best of South African talent.
Thus, in no particular order…
As far as views go, this ocean-side beauty (which enjoys 270° views from Lion’s Head at the rear to the Bantry Bay ridge on the north) already scores 10 out of 10. But a nice view can only do so much –visual aesthetics and functionality are much more vital for a living space.
Flaunting an open layout, this modern stunner offers heaps of internal- and external space, plus ensures reduced heat for the interiors via natural ventilation.
Located in Silver Lakes, Pretoria, this modern home has a clean and open design, both inside and out. But even though we've fallen in love with the furnishings and use of natural materials throughout the structure, it's this back yard with its corner swimming pool and evergreen grass that we can't forget about.
And to make the (already spacious) interiors even roomier, one simply flings open those gigantic glass doors to make the home's inside- and outside spaces blend beautifully together.
Located in the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate in Johannesburg, this über modern design flaunts the most delicious open look at the back—what else would you expect in order to make full use of such a lush view?
But back to the house: wrapping the back yard and pool in a U-shape layout, the house's linear look and earthy colour palette perfectly sums up the modern design. And let's not forget about all the features (like glazing and open layouts) that serve to blur the lines between inside and out.
Still in Johannesburg, we just love how this home (inspired by the warmth of a French Provencal abode) balances luxury and simplicity everywhere you look. And that includes this front side which goes a long way in putting its best foot forward for visitors (the importance of first impressions, right?).
Stone, wood, glass… is there anything these three materials can't achieve? Although we must confess the touches of lush greenery sprinkled against the walls are our favourite!
Our second house located in Cape Town, and no wonder this one also does its best to open up to the outside world (considering the marvellous view it enjoys on a daily basis).
In addition, it’s pure magic how this structure manipulates light via its slated screens, ensuring a constant game between light and shadow.
And what are your thoughts on that L-shaped pool neatly completing the back yard? The ideal space for some R&R and/or socialising?
Set on a sloping landscape, the architects had to pull out all the stops for this modern home’s construction. The main challenge was to build it within the same contour and simultaneously to allow for exposure to true north. Divided into two sections, the northern side is for the living areas and bedrooms, while the southern zone is dedication to services and circulation.
Mainly plaster was used for the walls, while exposed brick and timber touches were added to up the façade’s character.
Situated in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, this home is a very modern interpretation of the vernacular Cape Dutch-style houses. Hence, the snow white of the façade, which only serves to make the added black and grey tones of the interiors that much more prominent.
Our favourite space has to be this open courtyard, wrapped tightly by the U-shaped structure while still enjoying magnificent views of the adjoining vineyards.
This house used to be a much darker structure with disjointed circulation and a narrow internal staircase. What it is now, thanks to a dedicated renovation project, is a light-filled and open family home with five bedrooms and an unforgettable link to the outdoors.
With a street entrance that connects via a double-volume staircase to the living areas below, this house’s transformed look is much more becoming of 21st century style and living.
And we can’t proceed without wondering what it must be like to lounge on that covered terrace that enjoys panoramic sea- and mountain views on a daily basis!
With a 200 m² area layout, this modern home, located in Johannesburg, was modelled after the atomic ranch-style designs of post-World War 2. Thus, it makes use of an abundance of steel, glass, and wood (which is when these materials were plentiful), and all three materials are constantly repeated throughout the house.
Adding to its “tree house” effect is its location on a slope, as well as the various balconies and top-floor spaces allowing one a majestic lookout on the fresh landscape surrounding the house.
And for bonus points, it is also very environmentally friendly, making it one of the most practical, resourceful, and eco-friendly designs in the country.
Another renovation that transformed a tired-looking structure into a modern gem. Today, this four-bedroom family home flaunts, among other things, private and public spaces that present ever-present views of the city (and Table Mountain), a picture-perfect yard complete with lush garden trimmings and modern swimming pool, and (our favourite) a glass-clad structure on the outside which adds quite the futuristic touch to the façade.
We couldn’t close off this list without mentioning this modern farmhouse in Silverlakes Nature Reserve, Pretoria. And even though the house’s exterior façade is nothing to scoff at, it’s its interiors which really excite us.
The brief stipulated a Free State-style structure, as that’s where the client grew up.
Severely modernising the concept of a rustic farmhouse, this end result is beyond breathtaking. And our favourite piece is most definitely the three-storey high concrete silos: the first one is in the entrance hall, while the second flaunts its presence here behind the spiral staircase which leads to the first floor. Both silos also have sloped glass-roof structures, ensuring stunning light and shadow patterns playing down the tubular walls all day long.
As you can see from our list, there is something about the modern style that is just so… unforgettable. Care to copy it for your own home? Then check out these 6 steps to perfect modern interior design.