Location:
Gansbaai
Status:
Built
Year:
2007

Milkwood is a lightweight timber-framed and -clad beach house tucked into a gap in the milkwood forest. The house was be pre-fabricated off-site and installed easily in panels on site without disturbing the surrounding vegetation. As this type of construction is systematic, the house was designed as two offset oblongs with identical span and a regular bay module. The regularity that this system imposes is offset by sophisticated opening systems where entire panels slide away along projecting tracks, completely opening up the house. The minimal kitchen is concealed in a cupboard and most of the cooking is done on an outdoor gas cooker which slides out from a hatch onto the deck. Built-in seating in the living room creates extra sleeping spaces. The minimalism and the way the house opens up to the environment entirely give the houses the feeling of being a pavilion.

 

As the house is remote and exposed, materials were chosen for their resistance to the corrosive environment. The timber frame, doors and windows are merbau with cedar cladding in places and the roof is copper. Traditional detailing was used due to the remote circumstances, but was done in modern idiom. The hardwood glazing beads are one example: Timber beading is the best way to weather-proof glazed openings, but the thin beading sections and larger pane size make clear its modern origins.

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