Located on the secure Southdown’s Estate in Irene, near Pretoria, this amazing farm-style vernacular ‘house of the future’ by architects Friedrich and Johann Strey incorporates every modern measure of sustainable design imaginable – metal and timber frame external wall construction with structural insulation panels, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water vacuum tubes, solar under-floor heating, grey water recycling, photovoltaic solar panels with battery storage, a salt water swimming pool and a constant natural gas supply for cooking amongst much.
The house EVEN collects and recycles over 200 litres of dew per day off the Safintra metal sheet roof, I mean just how amazing is that…! That’s a human’s entire daily water requirement procured for free for life!!
The Irene-Centurion area is a Dolomite region with a high risk of sink holes forming so Friedrich and Johann developed an ingenious structural solution for the property by incorporating a singular long underground basement/ground floor reinforced concrete box to support the house and straddle any depression that might appear over its lifetime.
The house itself is a contemporary interpretation of farm-style architecture using elements and structures found on a farm as an analogy. The main structure is a well insulated ‘barn’, clad in timber decking, and with rigid board insulation under the floors, and in the walls & roof. The windows are all double-glazed to ensure a complete and perfectly insulated building structure.
The garages are built in timber & steel construction, clad with Safintra’s corrugated sheeting to resemble traditional farm-like structures. The lap pool is an analogy of a cattle drinking trough, positioned upwind in order for summer breezes to gather the cooled evaporated air in summer and blow it through the house, thus passively cooling the house, without it costing the home-owner a kilowatt of electricity on air-conditioning.
A triple-story cylindrical brick stair shaft, resembling a farm silo, forms the spectacular entrance hall. The indigenous plants, including a protected large Stinkwood tree, are low maintenance and use very little water with different flowers blooming in different seasons resulting in an endlessly colourful garden.
“We strived to set an example for South Africans by experimenting with high-tech & low-tech solutions in order to make a contribution to help saving the limited resources of the earth, without compromising on aesthetics and lifestyle. We hope that this spectacular home will inspire others to push the boundaries of architecture, as we did, and motivate the public to be more daring and appoint a knowledgeable architect to help them fulfil their dream while doing their bit for the future users of our world….our children.” Fredreich Strey