Nico van der Meulen

Nico van der Meulen

Johannesburg, ZA


Kloof Road House

Located at the foot of a nature reserve in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, Kloof Street House is the latest addition to Nico van der Meulen Architects’ portfolio of work. 

The client’s brief called for a family-orientated home that makes provision for entertainment and views to the outdoors. This resulted in a 1100m² sculptural piece of architecture that is an extreme transformation from the previously modest single storey. With every room in the house opening outdoors, linking the home with its landscape, the principle of indoor/outdoor living is effectively executed.

The new design by Werner van der Meulen is attached to the older one by means of decorative steel forms that wrap and frame, making this design a clear example of parasitic architecture. As you approach the home, you bear witness to the boldly designed monolithic boundary wall that sparks a sense of curiosity as to what is inside the premises. It is here that you are first introduced to the concept of the design, as the concrete cladded boundary wall has become a host to the blackened morphed steel that lingers overhead. Black steel sliding garage doors in front of the four new garages on top of the existing house create another solid barrier that contains the mystery of the house’s design.

Steel and glass are prominent materials used in Kloof Road House and have been uniquely integrated into the design,  from the boundary wall all the way into the interior details. The structure of the entrance hall lurches onto the double volume glass window that lingers over the entrance.  The sculptural steel staircase that is on display within the double volume glass tower is framed by one of the many modified steel forms, it connects the first floor to the ground floor, cutting through the vastness of the double volume space.   These steel forms are used to blur the borders between the floors, walls, and roofs, as is evident in the design of the staircase.

The living room, dining room, and kitchen are distinctively situated in an open plan area and coherently merge into one another. The natural timber herringbone cladded entrance wall creates a sense of warmth as it softens the harshness of the steel and concrete interior, while the backlit ceilings create a shadowless interior inside the sculptured 3D forms.

Translating the architectural concept of Kloof Road House into the interior spaces was a task carried out by M Square Lifestyle Design. Steel perforated panels were used to soften the brutal forms,  while the selection of lighting highlights the bold forms of the home and defines the angles. Incorporating concrete, glass, and steel assisted in visually linking the interior and exterior, aiding in the smooth integration of architecture and interior design. The furniture, decor, and feature lights that complement this bold design are all sourced from M Square Lifestyle Necessities.

Nico van der Meulen Architect’s trademark of flawlessly connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces is thoroughly achieved when the frameless folding glass doors are open, transforming the lanai into an extension of the living room.   The angled columns and steel beams pierce the double volume space, which highlights how these structural elements were designed to appear sculptural, while the sculptures on display compliment the structural components of the building.

Kloof Street House has four en suite bedrooms; two children’s bedrooms and a guest bedroom situated downstairs and the main bedroom suite located upstairs.   The design of the main bedroom incorporates a large open balcony with expansive views of the garden, while the open-plan bathroom flows seamlessly around the corner to the expansive dressing room. The main suite has its own lounge area with a television and fireplace, as well as a mini kitchenette bar. A Pajama-lounge playroom is located upstairs and overlooks the double volume living spaces and kitchen, it is connected to a large north-facing balcony that forms the roof of the lanai, offering views of the garden.

A 12m x 8m pavilion is located on the lower section of the garden and affords you the opportunity to view the northern façade in its entirety. Once again you see the steel morphs floating above the glass doors, joisting over the pool and garden.   The koi pond also cantilevers over the swimming pool allowing uninterrupted views of the koi pond from the pavilion, adding to the dramatic backdrop of the northern façade design.  The pavilion allows for effortless entertaining as there is a swimming pool and open fire pit next to it, as well as a barbeque area and bar located within.

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Status: Built
Location: Johannesburg, ZA
My Role: Architect