A4AC Architects is a first-rate architectural firm located in Johannesburg. It might be a young company, but when it comes to experience and portfolio pieces, the firm definitely knows what it’s talking about. After all, it deserves credit for creating one of the most talked-about modern residential structures in Gauteng: an off-the-grid container home in Northcliff. This is definitely an eye-catching design that challenges the conventional notions of what a house should be in our day and age. But before we discover said house, a bit more on the professionals in charge…
A4AC Architects offers a wealth of services for clients, from architectural plans and interior designs to construction documentation and management services. One look at its growing portfolio will showcase numerous residential, commercial and community projects. A4AC Architects is also known for specialising in alternative construction methods such as container construction and light-weight steel framing.
Let’s discover this out-of-the-box, lightweight, and energy-efficient home!
This off-grid, off-cliff house was pre-manufactured off site while the site works were being finalised. The utilisation of the site
up-cycled the land because the house is not using up any new land. Instead, it is making use of unused space on existing ground.
For the concept for this build, a sensitive approach was taken. Without disturbing the natural landscape and infrastructure, the design concept of
touch the earth lightly was adopted. This concept elevates the house on site and ensures an ambience for the residents of hovering amongst the trees, resulting in a first-class view of the Johannesburg cityscape—a view that definitely would not have been possible had the house been constructed on the ground.
The large cantilever over the existing driveway was achieved by upcycling old shipping containers, which were also selected due to them being ready-made structural elements. The single-level house maximises space on site while also eliminating foundations.
The lightweight steel structure was selected due to its economy, low-wastage, lightness and versatility. And just like the containers, the concrete footing was limited.
After the shipping container was prepared, it was used to transport the rest of the house's structural elements to the site.
In less than a day, the container (along with the structure) was delivered and placed on site.
Solar- and shading studies were conducted to ensure all habitable rooms would enjoy sufficient lighting and solar heating, ensuring more practical and comfortable interior spaces.
The western- and eastern facades have small openings in the form of elongated windows. Much more generous glass structures were ensured for the northern facade to ensure a wealth of incoming natural light / sunshine.
Dual functionality was the name of the game for the interiors. Hence, the roof which also functions as a patio, plus the passage serving as a buffer zone between the social- and private spaces while also being used as a study / home office.
The house was designed in two zones:
• one which contains the private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms,
• and another which can be called the social zone which houses the entertainment- and living spaces.
The heart of the home, the kitchen, is the meeting spot between these two zones.
In essence, this modern house contains a few steel products, soft finishes, and limited concrete footing—quite the unique combination to create a sustainable and totally comfortable living space for the 21st century.