Cape Town’s SAOTA, alongside US architect developer David Maman and Belgian interior designer Dieter Vander Velpen, designed this Bel Air residence, which is perched on a steep, triangular site with striking canyon views extending from Century City to the ocean.
Inspired by the site’s geometry and orientation, the exterior has a robust angular form. The upper floor is enclosed in white aluminium vertical screens – a pristine, clean element that floats above a monolithic concrete base. This mass element, which gives the building’s primary street character, is interrupted by a single undulation in its otherwise uniform surface, its lightness contrasting with the solid, tactile concrete it hovers over. Entering the property, the architectural character changes. Clean lines persist but are now fragmented, with angled mass walls guiding visitors towards the entrance, and the materiality shifts from metal and concrete to earthy travertine surfaces.
The contrast between the containment of the street entrance and the release into the living space, with its architectural lines reinforcing the expansive views over the pool terrace and down the canyon’s flanks, is powerful.
A memorably large living space is focused on the view. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor spaces, merging the main living areas with the pool terrace. The architecture shapes the views, providing privacy where necessary while drawing the landscape’s calmness and serenity into the home’s heart.
Inside, fluid, curved forms and a simple palette of stone, timber and bronze create a unified, sculptural quality. Natural materials and organic shapes infuse warmth and well-being, from the kitchen island to the circular marble bath, which is carved from a single piece of marble.
Architecturally, the design balances solidity and lightness, angularity and curvature, street presence and scenic views, resulting in a powerful architectural statement and a cocooning nurturing environment.
Lead designers: SAOTA & David Maman
SAOTA project team: Mark Bullivant, Kerian Robertson, Arthur Lehloenya
Architect of record: David Maman
Interior architecture & designer: Dieter Vander Velpen Architects
Development manager: PLUS Development
Contractor: JAL Construction Inc
Civil & structural engineer: Structural Design Plus, Inc.
Electrical engineer: CEG
Landscaping: Landscape by Diane
Lighting design: Moon Lighting
Photography by Mike Kelley