Klein Kastanjes is situated in a unique position in the old winemaking suburbs of Cape Town – sandwiched between two wine farms with backdrops of the Steenberg Mountains to the west and False Bay to the East. The Clients brief was to upgrade the existing poorly thatched house to be energy and resource efficient, with minimal increase to the existing bulk and footprint but with a radical new look and reconfiguration of space internally. The recycling of character timber elements, such as doors and sashes with stained glass from the old house was another strong part of the Clients brief, which was challenging when placing them in new facades together with large modern openings and aluminium sliding doors.
To achieve the former, long span precast slabs were used for the upper storey which allowed for the complete opening up of the ground floor plan and the new slate roofline was raised by 1m to create a series of attic storey bedrooms and high volumes. Keeping to the original house footprint limited the overall increase in floor area to only 12m². A glazed bridge linking the main house to its adjacent outbuilding increased the house’s overall functionality significantly by joining the two buildings and creating new spaces. Aside from providing access to the main studio and guest suite – the bridge itself becomes a new study lounge and doubles as a porte-cochere to shelter the main entrance below.
To achieve the latter, the older original parts of the house were clad in karoo stone, and roofed with new thin slate. Contrasting this – the new box dormers were flush clad in zinc, to express them as bold projecting frames that stem from the ground level and serve to order the facade and separate finishes. As strong ordering elements they contain openings on both levels with balconies that slide out between the frames. Rainwater guttering and other vertical services are concealed within the zinc box frames to keep all external finishes free of unsightly piping.