Cape Town architects, KUBE, have been appointed to design a new residence in the Franschoek Valley. The commission which is the result of an invited competition, will cover an area of around 600m2 and is due for construction late in 2015. A number of local architectural practices were approached to conceptualize a family home based on the client’s program. This is what KUBE architecture came up with…
A pallet of neutral tones and materials will retain the focus on the scenic beauty of the area. Surrounded by the majestic backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains, mass components will be used to establish the presence of the building in its context while the contrasting delicate, light elements will reiterate the humble yet hardy nature of the Cape fynbos.
The proposed architectural character references the works of architect Marcio Kogan for which the client expressed a particular affection while further generators include the site’s orientation and special features, prevailing weather conditions and views.
KUBE architecture is a registered competent persons with regard to the new SANS10400XA Energy legislation, and is able to perform Rational Designs according to the Regulations and Standards, and make use of the Deemed-to-Satisfy route for compliance.
Alien Vegetation: Black Wattle and Port Jackson, which are invasive tree species, can be used for the manufacture of design elements such as movable shutters to be used for passive solar control.
Rock salvaged during the excavation process can be used in part for the construction of the building thereby tying it comfortably into the landscape which it inhabits. This will also significantly cut down on CO2 emissions which acompany transport of such materials.
Water: Roof space will act as rainwater harvesters, feeding water to box gutters between the various building components. These gutters would, in turn, discharge into rainwater tanks. Water would also circulate through the site from the existing dam via courtyards in the house down to the reservoir at the bottom of the site. Evaporative cooling will offer additional relief from the mid-summer heat as the breeze passes over and into the home.
Reed-bed Filtration Systems will be used to purify grey water for re-use as well as keeping the swimming pool clean in an environmentally friendly manner.
Rammed Earth Construction, acting as thermal mass can significantly reduce energy costs and consumption.
Solar: Photo-voltaic panels which will be used to convert solar energy to electricity for use by the residence.
Thermal Heating and Cooling: To minimize the energy loads within and on the structure, it is critical to orient the building so that it takes full advantage of cooling breezes and sunlight. Day lighting with ample windows will eliminate the need to turn on electric lights during the day while taking advantage of the amazing scenery. Passive Solar can warm a building in the winter – but care needs to be taken to provide shade in the summer time to prevent overheating. Prevailing breezes and convection currents can passively cool the building in the summer.
Thermal components store heat during the warmers hours to be released when the temperature drops thereby keeping the internal temperature at a comfortable level. Thermal mass stores heat gained during the day and releases it at night minimizing the swings in temperature. Thermal mass can both heat the building in winter and cool it during the summer.
Insulation is the final step to optimizing the structure. Well-insulated windows, doors, and walls help reduce energy loss, thereby reducing energy usage Under-floor Insulation reduces the ingress of heat during the day thereby keeping the residence cool in summer. It also reduces heat escape during winter.