The site for the project, situated within the Mjejane Private Game Reserve – a private Big 5 game reserve incorporated into the Kruger National Park – opens onto a view of the Crocodile River on the north boundary with a green belt on its eastern edge. The retreat was designed to maximise the connection to nature and wild game while ensuring privacy between the five en-suite bedrooms as well as from neighbouring lodges.
The crowning jewel of the house is a floating steel roof that overhangs the house on every side with a minimum overhang of 1,6m. At its maximum, the roof overhang extends in an impressive 13m butterfly cantilever creating a seemingly unsupported roof over a boma.
The total roof area for the 450m2 residence totalled at an impressive 900m² allowing inside spaces to blend effortlessly with the outside.The steel roof overhangs helped design a passively cooled home which mitigates heat gain by shading the exteriors throughout the day in an area of the country that often reaches 30 degrees Celsius in winter and well over 40 degrees Celsius in summer.
Off-site fabrication allowed for a very clean assembly process on site, and bolted connections meant that very little welding took place on site. The steel roof arrived in four parts, which was logistically possible as the manufacturer, Quality Steel, was located just over an hour away from the site.
A four phase Lego-set type erection, also meant that there was no need to clear and disturb the natural bushveld for storage of building materials. Ingwe Construction was chosen to carry out the building work due to their proven track record of constructing large scale private bush lodges sensibly and sensitively in this part of South Africa.
In the interior huge glass windows, doors and fin walls constantly connect and direct the user to the outside bush. The placement of the windows facilitates a constant flood of light on the hand polished concrete floors and simple plaster walls, while angled ceilings facilitate natural airflows and complement other sustainable features of the project (such as rainwater harvesting from the extensive roof structure).
After a twelve month construction period, Architects Of Justice delivered a successful project, not only by understanding the environment and designing around it, but also by working closely with the client. The following comments from the client are testament to the work which they produce and their ultimate aim of client satisfaction: “Our dream of embracing the outside bushveld, inside our home, has exceeded our expectations.
The architects’ design allows for large openings that let the remarkable landscape to be enjoyed from every part of the house. The ambitious overhangs and cantilevers, made possible by the steel roof, affords us the ability to live harmoniously with nature as the lines blur between inside and out. We are incredibly proud of our home which is a stunning piece of contemporary architecture.”
In this private lodge at Mjejane Private Game Reserve, the architects have created a structure which rests elegantly in the surroundings. It is a home which while being architecturally innovative, doesn’t distract from the location of the project and draws the user’s attention to the outside. Granicki concludes; “We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such a unique project in such a stunning location.”
When a client approached Johannesburg-based Architects Of Justice and commissioned an avant-garde retreat he could disappear to, a journey began which would culminate in a recent Commendation for the project in the Mpumalanga Institute for Architecture (MPIA) Awards for Architecture 2017. Source by Architects of Justice.
- Location: Mjejane Private Game Reserve, South Africa
- Architects: Architects of Justice
- Project Manager: Condor & Co Project Management
- Structural Engineers: Professional Consultants Corporation
- Contractor: Ingwe Construction
- Steelwork Contractor: Quality Steel
- Structural Steel Detailer: Orbit Steel/Quality Steel
- Cladding Supplier: Chromadek
- Energy Consultants: Structatherm Projects
- Quantity Surveyor: Build Aid
- Year: 2017
- Photographs: Courtesy of PRchitecture
Article by Marco Rinaldi