Stacked House, Camps Bay


The original house of one level was small and sat high above the road accessible only by a steep and winding staircase that launched from besides a single garage – upon which a Coral Tree had comfortably taken root. The challenge of the brief was to design a secure and accessible contemporary two-level house within the height restrictions, title deed and budget limits. The roof of the house came off and the old floor layout was altered to make a two-bedroom flat that could be autonomous of the upper level. This meant the new vertical access needed to pass by this level without disturbing it. The trick was to add a small hydraulic lift which provided that secure and discreet access to both levels. The lift had to rise up in front of the house in steel and glass to maintain the incredible sea views and to blend with the front façade. The two levels are connected internally via a central stair which can be sectioned off – options for both family and/or dual stacked living. The upper level accommodates another two bedrooms and open plan living area which pushes back into the slope of the mountain to form a pool courtyard bounded by the second bedroom. The private pool is set deep into the sunny landscaped SE corner of the site. Both bedrooms at this level share their views with screened en-suites and enjoy high level light from a pop-up section on the flat roof. The flat concrete roof kept us within height limits and set the scene for the stacked levels and floating slabs aesthetic. We had just enough height to lift the North side of the roof, over the living room, to the majestic views of Lions Head Peak. The width of the upper level floor plate was limited by title deed restrictions and had to set back in from the ground floor, resulting in the wraparound balcony, which enhances the floating slab aesthetic of the house. Stacked House, Camps Bay The flat concrete roof slab guzzles rainwater via a set of full-bore outlets, dropping it into water tanks dug into the steep lower garden slope. A new rationalized stair winds its way up past these to the house, through the garden and around the lift, kicking off from a new landing and entrance court at road level. The entrance court doubles up as a second parking bay next to the single garage, which was carefully maintained, and as we finished up the house – the Coral tree started to bloom again!


Architects: Stuart Thompson & Matt Pretorius with elemental studio
Structural Engineer: ADA Consulting
Builder: Pieret Project Management