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THE GOOSE NEST

A bespoke family home, in the heart of Johannesburg, with a focus on connection to the garden and sustainability

2021, Craighall, Johannesburg, South Africa
Area: 420m²
Project Team: Nadine Clarke, Rory David

The Goose Nest Floor plan of bespoke family home with rammed earth feature walls, covered patio and private courtyards, opening totally onto large garden

The Clients Dream

As first-time builders referred to Meik, these clients were setting out to build their forever home for their young family. To do this they had managed to secure a long, north-facing subdivision in a sought-after suburb in the heart of Johannesburg. Meik was appointed to design a bespoke, intimate family home, that connects to the garden while creating calm private spaces for rest with inter-connected family spaces for work and play.

 

The Dream Actualised (Design response)

As a connection to the garden and optimum orientation was a critical requirement to the client the home was actualised as a linear building, moving from public to more private spaces. This allowed most rooms to be north-facing while being connected to the garden, either directly or via views.

The access and driveway are situated directly off the panhandle and a large rammed earth wall screens off the private garden. A more ‘public’ studio for teaching classes is located off a courtyard behind the garage and doubles up as the guest suite when needed; the bathroom of which doubles up as the guest loo.

A double-volume lobby connects the garage and studio with living spaces. As the clients’ original intention was to avoid a formal lobby-type space, it doubles up as a stairwell and has hanging nets on the first floor level to allow family members additional private spaces to ‘hang out’ and read.

The open-plan living area consists of an eat-in kitchen and a double-volume lounge. The eating space opens up completely, with sliding and stacking doors, to become part of the covered patio. A courtyard is formed to the south of the living space, between the scullery and bedroom wing and allows for cross ventilation and additional connection to the garden.

Private family spaces are situated on the first floor and consist of a snug (TV room) next to Dad’s office and music studio. The studio is treated as a floating box clad with charred timber which creates the covered patio below it. It connects to the garden with a large picture window on the north and a screened balcony to the west.

The living spaces conclude with a rammed earth wall that indicates the transition to the more private bedroom portion of the home. The house steps down in volume at the bedroom wing to create more tranquil and intimate spaces. Bedrooms are accessed by purposely low-slung passage space that contains a wall of storage.

Bedrooms are also connected via an exterior walkway, further reinforcing the connection to the garden. All bedroom doors have sliding shutters for security that allow sleeping with the doors open in the summer months! The exterior walkway terminates in a private porch for the master suite, and a rammed earth wall denotes the end of the home.

The living spaces conclude with a rammed earth wall that indicates the transition to the private bedroom section of the house. The house steps down in volume at the bedroom wing to create more tranquil and intimate spaces. Bedrooms are reached through a purposely low-passage space that features a wall of storage.

The bedrooms are linked through an outdoor walkway, further enhancing their connection to the garden. All bedroom doors have sliding shutters for security and allow for summertime sleeping with the doors open. The outdoor walkway ends at a private porch for the master suite and the rammed earth wall marks the end of the house.

 

But is it as green as its garden?

We’re glad you’ve asked. Sustainability is a core design driver at Meik and we always aim to use passive design principles alongside technology to create sustainable, thermally comfortable homes, that function optimally.

How have we done that in this home?
The linear layout means the majority of the spaces receive northern exposure. (Why North?) Shading devices are employed extensively on the north face to provide shading in the summer months while allowing warm sunlight in during the winter months. High-level north-facing windows in the living space allow the sun to penetrate deep into the space in winter months, aiding in heat gain via thermal mass. This means the concrete floor heats up in the day and the heat radiates out of the floor at night.

The cool courtyard to the south of the living area reinforces the connection to the garden but, more importantly, creates cross ventilation across the space.

The entire envelope is well insulated, via the use of cavity walls, double glazing, shutters, below surface bed insulation and well-insulated roofs.

Timber roofs are employed over the living spaces rather than concrete – timber being a more sustainable material than concrete.

 

Want to know more?

If you like what you see and hear and want to work with us, or have questions about how we can assist you please call or email us to set up an appointment to discuss your requirements.

Nadine: 082 809 1970 || Studio: 011 025 8318 || info@meik.co.za