Sow House is an expression of an emerging African aesthetic in the sure way it plays with texture, materials and the way it connects to the exterior. The dramaticÂ triangular shaped site, with very restrictive design and building parameters made SAOTA come up with a reductive design that developed as a result of carving and sculpting away forms from a triangular footprint.
The 20 meter wide channel sits the two portions that make this house, the main house and the annex. What link the two buildings are the cinemas, spa, auditorium and garages underneath. The main house is a combination of round edged cubes and triangular masses that form the L-shape of the living spaces. A double volume living area with a curved wall on the faÃ§ade facing the lake, flows into a dining area and kitchen on the ground floor and bedrooms, a lobby and en-suiteâ€™s on the top level. The top floors are accessed by a glass cylinder encased lift. The annex houses a guest suite and what unifies the two are their materiality and spacial relationship to each other, making the gap in between read rather like a pause in time as opposed to an empty space.
The beaten stainless steel gate and polished stainless steel fence posts, prepare one for the understated elegance that is the character of this house. The main entrance sits between a sloped faÃ§ade and a stone-clad wall. The sloped faÃ§ade reflects the triangular nature of the site, giving the house an organic dynamic in its dark grey Alucobond and glass finish. The main entrance imitates the gate in its beaten stainless steel finish and the chandore stone of the external feature wall, warms the hard edge the glass, steel and Alucobond give. The garage doors and external walls are finished in Balau timber that will eventually weather into a lovely silver patina.
The second building, the annex, is finished in floor to ceiling fixed glazed panels, glazed sliding doors and the same slatted Balau timber finish as the garage and links the two buildings above ground visually with a hint as to their link beneath. The main materials used in this project externally were concrete, Alucobond and Rheinzink cladding, glass and different types of marble. Internally, the main finishes were different types of marble for floors and feature walls, stainless steel wall cladding, glass, and walnut for joinery finishing. Over and above the triangular parameters of the site; accommodation requirements; specification of finishes and detail, it is in the interaction between the volumes and spaces of the house, how they function together andÂ how they open up to the exterior that one understands afro-euro aesthetic that is this house.
Sow Geneva House
Architect: SAOTA (Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects) with SRA KÃ¶ssler & Morel Architects
Interior Design: Antoni Associates â€“ Mark Rielly
Photographer: Stefan Antoni