The architect Gillian Holl’s house at Monaghan Farm near Lanseria is designed to be cold in summer, warm in winter, and it is ecologically sound, sustainable and an intrinsic part of its surroundings. The architect took “around six to eight months” to plan every detail in the house. He set the steel and glass house facing just off north, so the sun spills through for most of the day, penetrating through the glass panels that act as walls and heating the terrazzo tiles.
A testimony to the timelessness and versatility of mid-century modern architecture, this glass and steel structure inspired by the works of Mies van der Rohe rests amiably in supplied the water plants and the Celtis Africana tree. The house’s north-facing facade incorporates natural rusted corten steel boxes that juxtapose the lightweight feel of the structure.
“The solar panels on the roof warm the underfloor water heating and geyser – and the pool for summer days,” says Gillian.
The majority of the house aside from the bedroom areas is transparent allowing unobstructed views. On a sunny day, Gillian opens up the panels completely so there are no barriers to the space outside. Gillian and Ivan designed the natural swimming pool, which is filtered by means of an ecosystem of water plants instead of salt chlorinators. In summer, they’ll swim in a pool with no chlorine.
The heart of the house is the kitchen. The designer made the kitchen cabinets and woodwork so that the kitchen drawers are slanted, contrasting with the streamlined cupboards.
The home’s ability to retain heat is bolstered by low-emission glass, while solar- powered under-floor heating and two fireplaces lend additional cosiness in winter.