The building is conceived as a series of accommodation pavilions sitting beneath large roof canopies. The space between the pavilions and under the canopies creates a further outdoor room, sheltered from the sun and from the heavy seasonal rains. Principle spaces are orientated to the views of the lake, dam and countryside beyond.
Built into and onto the rock face, reinforced concrete is used to form a series of cantilevers and ground structures. The canopy roofs are steel framed. A swimming and plunge pool are also formed in concrete.
The challenge lay in designing a structure, which could be built within the constraints of both its national location and its isolated and precarious site.
forza Seilern Architects completed their first African project atop Gota dam
The house is situated atop a granite rock overlooking a large man-made dam. The location creates an awe-inspiring peice of architecture. The views and the drama of the granite cliff plunging into the dam were the inspiration for the concept, where oversized cantilevered roofs and extensive terraces frame the views and shelter from the vertical African sun.
The basic elements of the house are: two granite blocks, enclosing bedrooms and support spaces, anchor the building into the rock, and become part of the surrounding topography. An oversized timber platform and a cantilevering roof frame the exterior spaces and the panoramic views. Finally two glass boxes span between the deck and roof, and the natural granite topography. These enclose the winter living areas at the upper level and the master bedroom suite at the lower level. They are transparent enclosures that again emphasise the views and the feeling of living within the surrounding landscape.
A small horizon pool at the lower level visually integrates the dam reservoir with the lower levels of the house. All elements are orientated in such a manner as to create physical adjacencies and visual privacy where required. The cantilevers roofs and stretched terraces give the house the appearance of being gently floating above the rock. The roofs protect the floor-to-ceiling glass from direct sun radiation.
The project had to deal with issues of hyper-inflation in and lack of available materia in 2008l. All materials were sourced locally, except for specialist items such as the glass and the roof waterproofing. The granite used to clad the two anchor blocks were the ‘crusts’ cut-off that came from the granite excavation. Using the granite from the site also insured that the building blended harmoniously with its surroundings