House McIntosh


The ‘House McIntosh’ site is on a country estate, “The Bend” off the Loteni Road, outside Nottingham Road. Our client had chosen a site on the estate that was remote and exposed on the brow of a hill with a north facing aspect. We were struck by the wide aspect of the site, and the impact a building would have in this open, natural setting. As part of the house would be double-storey we looked at ways to reduce the scale of the building as much as possible, and emphasize its horizontality in harmony with the natural lines.


In order to achieve the low scale that was harmonious with the site, the roof needed to be manipulated to control its height. Roof pitch (45), material and stone gable ends were prescribed in the building code and the steep roofs create vertical scale. We played with loft-type roofs and lowered the wall plate of the roof (and gable end) by about 1,5m, inserting dormer roofs where head room was required.


Driving through the Free State one encounters numerous small towns – Ladybrand, Ficksburg etc that spring up in the middle of beautiful natural scenery of the sandstone area. Even when you are in the towns themselves you area always aware of the surrounds. One of the reasons for this is the grid-like layout where streets continue into the landscape. We applied this principal to the plan of House McIntosh to integrate the house with the landscape and as a constant reminder of the context.


The climate of the Midlands has extremes of hot summers and very cold winters, some high winds and lashing rains. The interior of the house is a place to retreat and take refuge from the elements. On pleasant days, the outdoors is the place to be though, and the plan of the house has been pulled apart somewhat to create a range of outdoor spaces that are semi-enclosed, protected from the wind and sun or totally open to the warm winter sun. Verandas have been limited to allow heat gain in the cool summer months