Residential architecture trends

Contributing decor editor Candice Botha attended the Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Excellence and Merit and identified some trends in residential architecture

Presented by Corobrik and the South African Institute for Architects (SAIA), the Corobrik-SAIA Awards of Excellence and Merit represent the highest accolade that can be awarded to a building in South Africa. Although commercial buildings and public spaces were also honoured, I was particularly interested in several trends that emerged from the residential winners.

The trends

1. Open space

The first trend the judges commented on was open space. Homes are being built to take advantage of the outdoors and to create a sense of spaciousness. The use of glass to make rooms seem ‘boundary-less’ and to enhance views was very evident in the residential category.

House Kleine Schuur

This home, House Kleine Schuur, in Johannesburg is a listed building designed in 1910. The extension, incorporating this cantilevered window box, takes full advantage of the views over the garden and city. The floor-to-ceiling glass gives the room a sense of lightness while a vertical garden covers and hides the support structure, adding to the sense that the room is floating.

House Snyders, designed by W Design Architecture Studio

House Snyders in Johannesburg has incorporated water features to enhance the sense of light and openness by reflecting the sky and surrounding landscape.

2. Sustainability

The second trend is sustainability and most of the buildings that received awards include the latest in eco-design principles. This includes using natural materials that are often locally sourced, as well as designing spaces with good circulation to reduce cooling and heating costs.

House Kleynhans, designed by TG Architects + Interiors

House Kleynhans in Pretoria is built around a pinwheel structure of four walls clad in local stone, while concrete and facebrick are also used extensively.

3. Environment

A third trend was considering the surrounding environment and context of the structure when planning the building. In the case of House Kleine Schuur, the architects didn’t try to mimic the rest of the home’s style in the new parts. Instead they chose a contemporary style that will speak about this era in the building’s history in years to come.

House Kleynhans’s design takes its rural, agricultural setting into account with a barn-like pitched roof made from galvanised corrugated iron sheeting. House Snyders’s site slopes down towards a river and this element is reflected in the water features and ponds.

Have you noticed any trends in new homes being built in your area? Let me know by commenting below.