maison noir private guest house

orange kloof, cape town

The 2.5-acre site of Maison Noir Private Guest House sits on the northern slopes of Table Mountain overlooking the spectacular Orange Kloof Nature Reserve with its natural milkwood forests and massive silver trees. The reserve is also the source of the Disa River, which runs through the valley of Hout Bay and culminates in the Atlantic. The site falls steeply from north to south and in contrast to the neighbouring nature reserve, the entire site was originally covered in a forest of invasive blue gum trees. These were felled once again exposing the site to natural sunlight. These large invasive aliens were then cut and planned on site and reused in the actual building in the form of boardwalks and screens. The building footprint is situated at the lower southern end of the property, with the road access to the north some 200 meters away on the higher ground. The Maison Noir Private Guest House building is conceived as a series of nine individual pods, each with its own roof, loosely arranged around the notion of an African village of huts or kraal. The various function of each pavilion is clearly organised in terms of the public, semi-public and private domains. These pods are enclosed and protected by a massive curved retaining wall. This wall is partially buried in the landmass so that the overall effect of the building complex is one that is wedged below natural ground level like a pebble would be wedged in the beach sand as the tide recedes. The curved retaining wall is punctured in only one place to allow for a timber boardwalk that extends through an open-air room and bisects the building and acts as the entrance to the complex. A shallow reflective pool dramatically surrounds most of the building complex.

site: 9537 sq.m.
building: 1132 sq.m.
project architect: paolo deliperi
structural engineer: gadomski engineers
contractor: the building company
photography: paolo deliperi
micky hoyle
burger engelbrecht