house rothman

urban infill project

a rational design, which responds to the views, site and urban location
materials – concrete poured in situ, glass, rusted metal elements
indigenous landscaping

“situated in the heart of melville… this three-storey dwelling is home to a professional couple.  the ground floor contains a garage and freestanding services incorporated as garden furniture.  the garage is more than a mere utilitarian space, serving also as an entertainment area loggia to the garden beyond.  throughout, the utilitarian is given dignified expression – whether a well-crafted garage door, entrance gate or services, all carefully designed and enhanced by their deliberated rusticated finish.

the house is classically organized within its distinctively modernist container, however, with small inversion in the tripartite organisation of the facade.  the piano nobile is reserved for sleeping and recreation whereas the “attic” (containing the living, dining, kitchen and terrace) takes advantage of expansive views.  all these spaces are effortlessly organised in an elegant open-plan configuration.  the sensation of open-air living, reinforced by sliding glass surfaces, creates the impression of the sky being the roof – hence – it is not a misnomer to refer to the top as an attic.  the three floors are tied together by a cascading concrete stair, providing a section clarity rare in most modern buildings.

it… rejects south african insecurities by addressing the street in a refreshingly frontal and unfortified manner. it, moreover, challenges the kowtowing to the surrounding corrugated tin-roofed bungalows of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which have endured willful changes. finally, house rothman defiantly interrogates stereotypical interpretations of contextualism by reinterpreting principles such as plot ratio, setbacks and privacy (however contentiously) to produce an uncompromising and superbly crafted contemporary urban dwelling.

with johannesburg the naissance of the modern movement in south africa, house rothman is fitting homage to a long lineage of investigation.”
professor pattabi raman, dept. of architecure, university of the free state
10 years 100 buildings , bell-roberts publishing 2009
convened and edited by professor ora joubert, pta university, 2009

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