A glass and thatch holiday home in the foothills of South Africa’s Waterberg Mountains offers endless views of pristine bushveld where earth meets sky, and the architecture brings depth and complexity to the experience of being there.
Depending on the time of day, the weather, the light and the season, you can see anything between three and seven layers of the Waterberg Mountain range from the deck of this weekend getaway. It looks out from a ridge in the foothills of the mountain range across a vast valley of pristine bushveld towards a section of the range know as Boshoffsberg Mountain Range in the Marakele National Park. “As the light changes and as the sun moves, as one layer seems to disappear, you become aware of another and then another,” says its owner, Kobie Delport.
The mountains seem to vary in shades of purple and grey. “Everyone underestimates how beautiful the views of the bushveld are,” says architect Johan Wentzel, who, together with his wife and partner Grete van As of W Design and Architecture Studio, designed the house. “We always think of an ocean view being dynamic, but this changes constantly.”
A significant inspiration for them was the work of Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza. “He says that we discern time by the passing of light,” explains Johan. “And that you build a building with a combination of gravity and light. Gravity is the solid things – the tectonic stuff, the platform. Then you define the space with light.” In the ancient Greek philosophy, the archetypes of the cave and the tree represent the two types of shelter: the solid and the light. “We find a lot of inspiration in that,” says Johan.