Located in Johannesburg, the Brian Road Residence underwent extensive transformations that took the 1970s house to a contemporary level. Nico van der Meulen Architectsimagined an atrium and moat surrounding the hall and dining room, while a water curtain falls past a cut-out in the atrium wall, shaping a breakfast garden to the east of the kitchen. The double-height living and dining space open to a spacious lanai extending the entertaining zone into the garden. Opulent social interiors adorned with Tom Dixon spherical copper lamps were divided into activity zones, creating an open floor plan combining family and entertaining possibilities. Luxury can be also recognized in the color choices: rich rust and copper hues meet bright natural light in a spectacular space arrangement. These modern South-African interiors were designed by M Square Lifestyle Necessities, who also transformed the private spaces into inviting indoor/outdoor splendors. Opening onto balconies and atriums, main bedrooms and bathrooms compete with the guest quarters, which lead out to the garden through frameless doors. A myriad of exceptional details compose this residential space, upgrading it to suit a luxurious 21st century lifestyle.
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
The best architects can create designs which will give clients and the public things they didn’t even realise they wanted, and this is especially important when architects are given the difficult brief of creating structures in much-loved, iconic areas.