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SAOTA: House Flanders

Aiming to establish an authentic relationship between man and nature, House Flanders – the latest project by award-winning Cape Town-based architecture firm SAOTA – employs a simplistic design approach with formal clarity to unify the architectural object with its untouched surroundings.

Situated on a large, wooded lot in the Flanders region of Belgium, the project offered SAOTA an opportunity to design a distinctive contemporary build in the landscape that would simultaneously serve as a warm, outward-looking living environment while engaging meaningfully with its surroundings.

Steered by Philip Olmesdahl, Joe Schutzer-Weissmann, Nasreen Larney, Bobby Labrou and Valerie Lehabe of SAOTA, the home consists of two principal components: a main house above a basement parking garage and a separate pool pavilion with a home office linked by landscaped courtyards, a structured system of koi ponds and a swimming pool.

The exterior design is composed of solid cubes and interconnecting glazed voids, which are unified with a slender canopy that wraps around three sides to form outdoor terraces, while clustered vertical columns double as sculptural screens. 

Inside, interior designer Pieter Laureys and TKI Interiors worked with the client’s preference for traditional, defined rooms rather than an open-plan arrangement. Architecturally, this decision led to cellular interior spaces that open outwards onto the terraces and inwards towards a double-volume central atrium with skylights. To build on this, the team created bespoke interior spaces that foster an easy yet sophisticated indoor-outdoor lifestyle in summer, while offering a cosy environment during the cooler months.

Featuring a restrained palette of materials – slabs of Giallo D’Istria marble cladding on the walls, sandstone floors, and panelled Alucabond aluminium sheets along the fireplace broken up by large glass panels – the contrast between the precision of the architecture and interiors and the organic textures of the materials amplifies the inherent beauty of each, creating a truly special bond between the house and the land it sits on.


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