House Spambo

Knysna, South Africa.

A UK based family with strong roots in South Africa decided to create a holiday home for their South African and UK families to come together. We were appointed to design a small and comfortable retreat that could bring two cultures together in a beach home that symbolised their African roots. TCNO and Rik rts-Hansen delivered the project as project architects on site in South Africa, Knysna.

The design concept was an experimental approach to creating a contemporary hub with traditional, African ritual references where friends and families could gather and socialise. The concept of an imbizo [gathering in Zulu, usually a meeting place of a village called by the traditional leader] sought to create a central hub where guests and family would congregate during the day and night before retreating to separate bedrooms access by short galleries.

The plan is u-shaped and encloses an inner courtyard that connects to all rooms of the imbizo through sliding doors. The courtyard used for shaded, cooler gatherings has a central large table and woodfire oven for cooking open flame meals. The courtyard space is open on one side which is landscaped to connect to the surrounding hills and brings the local fynbos vegetation into the house design. Inside the imbizo there is the arrival gallery, deck area, outdoor dining space, open plan kitchen with circular dining room and living room, stone bar, a humidor, a walk-in cold room to accommodate whole slaughter meat to be hung. All of these spaces come together as cultural and ritual symbols.

Team Credits

Designers: Guy Adam Ailion and KSR Architects (London)

Executive Architects: TCNO architects: Rik Orts-Hansen and Ajay Corbett

Project Architect: Rik Orts-Hansen

QS: Jamie Mcintosh

Structural Engineering: Dave Hall.

M&E Engineering: Rob Hall

Landscape Design: Sue Orts-Hansen of OH Design Collaborative.

Photography: Jan Ras