Project: Great Primary Shapes House
Architecture: Gregory Katz Architecture
Interior Design: Cameron Collective
Location: Johannesburg South, South Africa
Area: 275 m²
Photo credits: Elsa Young
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and is a notion that holds truth for the residence of Kelly-Ann Myles and Julie Parker in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. Their home, with its focal point being a magnificent Chinese Nettle tree, can be aptly described as an ever-evolving architectural marvel. It takes on a transformative journey, morphing through a series of geometric shapes, commencing with a triangle, and culminating in a circle.
The concept for the Great Primary Shapes House, nestled on a 1,600m² plot of land, originated from a book Gregory Katz was engrossed in at the time—Euclid’s Elements. Captivated by the idea of creating a structure where the exterior of each shape is composed of different materials, while the interior materials remain consistent, thereby unifying the spaces, Greg sketched a rudimentary digital diagram that incorporated various shapes like triangles, hexagons, cubes, and circles. An infectious idea that prompted the clients to suggest the inclusion of trapezoid windows.
Since the design unfolded from the outside in, it became one of the most unconstrained projects in the practices’ portfolio, devoid of any fixed formulas or constraints. It introduced a layer of complexity that sparked debates and required continuous-resolution throughout the process.
The outcome is a four-bedroom dwelling that not only fulfills its functional purpose but also aims to exude a joyful and captivating ambiance. Interconnected living areas create a sense of cohesion, seamlessly integrating with the outdoors through strategically positioned geometric aperture windows.
The architect intended to invite exploration and delight in every corner, captivating the imagination with its progressive metamorphosis. The house’s distinctive charm lies in the fact that its skin doesn’t require paint; each shape possessing and facilitating its own unique identity and distinctive character.
The triangular entry volume houses a staircase that climbs at the perfect 3D angle, following the contour of the wall. This non-axial placement allowed space for the entrance door at the base of the stairs. Creating a fascinating association and harmony between the floor plan and section.
Having worked on the client’s previous residences, Interior designer Cecil Cameron has a deep understanding of their style, preferences, and distaste for the ordinary. Thus, it became a matter of harmonizing their distinctive style with Gregory’s architectural vision.
The interior design honors the architectural design while also imbuing the space with a sense of warmth and comfort through a curated selection of contemporary eclectic statement pieces. To accommodate the unconventional room shapes, the team opted for a significant amount of custom-made furniture and pops of color, enhancing the space’s uniqueness.
Greg attributes his inspiration to his earlier experiences working with renowned architects such as Zvi Hecker and Daniel Liebeskind. He exclaims, “Working alongside visionaries like Zvi and Daniel teaches you to embrace bravery, boldness, and independent thinking.” The GPS House embodies that sentiment and stands as a testament to its uniqueness, courage, boldness, and sheer excitement.