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How nature is influencing our homes of tomorrow, today

Greening the city.resize

Discerning homeowners are adjusting their demands of what the ideal home has to offer. Homes need to offer convenience, compactness and manageability while being responsive to natural surrounds and the demands of modern living. All this while still being representative of the individuality of the owner.

This is what some experts have to say on this subject, and how technology and raw materials are being fused for optimal design.

Michele Rhoda, director of ARRCC (formerly Antoni Associates)michelerhoda_arrcc_lr

“Good design right now is not about trend or style, but about a design approach that fully analyses the context of a project and encompasses a design that optimises all aspect of the site, views, climate, brief, budget, and lifestyle. There is an approach of using more tactile and natural elements, we want the earth to touch our architecture and this is reflected in the raw elements and finishes being used.”







Philip Olmesdahl, director of SAOTA


Artist’s impression of mixed-use development, ‘117 on Strand’ in Cape Town

“In terms of material we favour concrete, natural materials and finishes that impart a serene and uncluttered environment. The authenticity of these materials means that they are suitable for all projects, whatever the budget.”


Mark Rielly, director ARRCC2015_12_04_mr_mws_meet-the-team_profile-pic_6-5x8-5_mvdb-1

“Really good contemporary design has a well-balanced mix of functionality and practicality, as well as a special mystery that almost feels magical. This is as applicable to multi-residential, as it is to single. There is much value created in good design.”






Laurie Wener, senior executive, developments for Pam Golding Properties  in the Cape Town Metrolaurie-wener-pam-golding-properties

“The look and feel of homes is changing. We are seeing a trend towards flexible, open-plan designs with all bedrooms en-suite, usually smaller in size for easier maintenance. The use of strong, lightweight structures for some types of construction, as well as insulated or prefabricated walls that reduce weight and labour costs, coupled with alternative power supply and climate control features and fast, effective domestic bandwidth are all becoming increasingly important.”





Carol Reynolds, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal

Carol Reynolds of PGP

“The general appearance and feel of homes is becoming less ostentatious and more ecological, with the use of raw materials. It is more about the natural landscape and its inherent beauty than the home that happens to rest upon it. We note a shift away from big double-storey blocks to homes with different levels, cantilevered platforms and the use of wood, glass and steel. With clever design and no wasted space, it is very easy to fit four bedrooms into 200m². Passageways and corridors are a thing of the past – instead, it is modern and tasteful to create homes that are essentially open plan barns with indoor/outdoor flow, no wasted space and larger open areas with better proportions. High ceilings and exposed beams can create volume which in itself gives the impression of space, even when the actual footprint of the home is small. In regard to renovations of existing residences, we are seeing lighter, brighter homes with more open-plan living spaces and modernising of kitchens and bathrooms.”

SAOTA uses virtual reality to assist its architects and clients interact with design through an immersive interactive 3D walkthrough of the project at design stage. This means that people get to ‘move in’ their homes before they are even built!

Gerard Slee, SAOTA architect and specialist in 3D technologyslee_gerard_saota2-resize

“SAOTA VR experiences come in a variety of forms and can be experienced in an Oculus Rift/Samsung Gear head-mounted display, on a website, or via the SAOTA custom app with oir without Google Cardboard. Our app works on any Android or Apple smartphone. Without a headset it provides an experience of the design that is similar to Google Street View except that the phone allows you to ‘move’ through the project. If you have access to a headset, the app splits down the middle and provides different views (half the screen) to each eye, with the HMD (Head Mounted Display) displaying different digital cameras to each eye. These digital cameras recreate depth at a human perspective, so combined with accurate head tracking we can place a user in a 3D environment so they can move through their home while it is still at concept stage.”

 To experience SAOTA’s virtual reality techonology visit their site


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