Gota Dam House

CompanyStudio Seilern Architects
Lead DesignerChristina Seilern with Muzia Sforza
Design Team
PrizeLandscape Architecture / Residential_LA

The 1’500 sqm building is situated atop a granite rock overlooking a large man-made dam, or reservoir for the extensive surrounding farmland. The area is breathtaking and awe- inspiring. The views and the drama of the granite cliff plunging into the dam were the inspiration for the concept, where oversized cantilevered roofs and extensive terraces frame the views and shelter from the vertical African sun. The house consists of 3 basic elements - Two granite blocks, enclosing bedrooms and support spaces, anchor the building into the rock, and become part of the surrounding topography. - An oversized timber platform and a cantilevering roof frame the exterior spaces and the panoramic views. These are designed to focus the eye to the horizon, while creating shaded exterior spaces for living and dining areas. - Two glass boxes span between the deck and roof, and the natural granite topography. These enclose the winter living areas at the upper level and the master bedroom suite at the lower level. They are transparent enclosures that again emphasize the views and the feeling of living within the surrounding landscape. A small horizon pool at the lower level visually integrates the dam reservoir with the lower levels of the house. All elements are orientated in such a manner as to create physical adjacency and visual privacy where required. The cantilevers roofs and stretched terraces give the house the appearance of being gently floating above the rock. The roofs protect the floor-to-ceiling glass from direct sun radiation. The project had to deal with issues of hyper- inflation and lack of available material. All materials were sourced locally, except for specialist items such as the glass and the roof waterproofing. The granite used to clad the two anchor blocks were the ‘crusts’ cut- off that came from the granite excavation.