Stepping Outdoors

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With Gillian Holl, Veld Architects

In a country blessed with abundant natural beauty and a vibrant outdoor culture, the significance of well-designed outdoor leisure and entertainment spaces cannot be emphasised enough. My design philosophy is rooted in the understanding that outdoor spaces are extensions of indoor living areas, seamlessly integrating architecture with the surrounding landscape. In South Africa, where outdoor living is ingrained in the cultural fabric of its communities, I believe in elevating these spaces beyond mere utility, transforming them into places of relaxation, socialisation, and inspiration.

Celebrating the landscape

The ultimate outdoor entertainment area for the home has a deep appreciation for the diverse natural landscapes that define South Africa. The space should be carefully considered to celebrate its unique surroundings. Thoughtful site analysis and strategic placement of amenities make it possible to embrace views, optimise natural light, encourage passive heating and cooling strategies, and create seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

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Emphasising identity

Reflecting personality in a space is essential, best done, I believe, by incorporating warm earth tones and natural materials to respond contextually through architecture. This allows the space to evoke a sense of balance between the built fabric, and surrounding landscape, while bold hues and geometric patterns aim to emphasise and relate back to the homeowner’s identity.

Designing for adaptability

Central to my idea of the perfect outdoor space is the concept of versatility and adaptability. Understanding that life is dynamic and multi-faceted, whether for entertainment or leisure, excellent design should aim to be flexible, accommodating a wide range of activities and functions.

Architecture plays a pivotal role in enriching lives by fostering connections to our natural surroundings. By redefining these spaces through carefully considered design, cultural sensitivity, and environmental consciousness, the perfect outdoor environment not only relates to style, needs, and lifestyle; it encourages a deeper connection to the world we inhabit.


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