rooiels house

Found in the small fishing village of Rooiels and set amongst the fynbos on an exposed rocky peninsula, this single space leisure home capitalizes on its remarkable environment and makes for an extraordinary living experience. The genesis of this building was a sketch on a paper napkin over a calamari lunch in Hermanus, where a torturous journey ensued  to create this landmark beach house.


Designed as a glazed pavilion with sub-divisible internal spaces and foiled with mechanically operable timber solar screens, the house is raised on a semi-submerged concrete podium. Challenge was the word which drove this project, with the overriding aspect being that nearly every single component was purpose designed and specially made. From transporting 13, 5m long trusses along a torturous coastal road – demanding special permits and taking an entire month to facilitate – into the village’s dirt lanes, to dealing with a continuous onslaught of corrosion and untenable windy conditions, the execution of the work at the quality level achieved is nothing less than a miracle.

Counterpointed by a freestanding pool and subterranean entry court and garage, the elongated pavilion with a floating curvilinear roof displays a sophisticated, minimal architectural language which hovers gently in its unique setting.

The use of a steel frame in an extremely hostile coastal environment seems like an unsuitable choice! However, the visual lightness envisaged for the pavilion and particularly the long spans and cantilevers demanded it. Architecturally, a sense of unlimited connection to the panoramic views, a quality of lightness and desire to open up the internal space entirely to decks on all sides of the house, corroborated the deployment of steel.

The house has a simple rectangular footprint with the short ends oriented east/west and is effectively a large umbrella with all four facades opening out fully, connecting with site and affording 100% natural cross ventilation in all directions, making for a building that is ‘a one room deep space’ in its purest form.