House Paarman Tree House by Malan Vorster

Living upon the leaves.

Project Specs


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Appreciation towards Malan Vorster for providing the following description:

项目位于一片草木葱茏的环境中,建筑师此前就参与过此块区域中的其他设计项目。场地中围绕 Cape Werf 沃尔夫角组织了一系列现代风格的建筑,这次建筑师被委托设计一个当代风格的住宅,来补完场地内的建筑风格类型。

The architects have been involved with previous projects on this tree-rich property, and were commissioned to design a small contemporary house to complement the existing collection of buildings – spatially organised around a modern interpretation of the Cape Werf.

▼建筑坐落在一片优美的自然景观中,the residence is located in the middle of a splendid scenery ©Adam Letch


Inspired by the trees on the estate, the client requested a cabin-like, one bedroomed hide-away resembling a tree house. The structure is located in a small clearing amongst forest-like gardens, and respond similarly to the verticality of the surrounding trees in order to maximise views from the highest portion of the site.

▼垂直的线条和周边的森林相呼应,the verticality of the house responds to the surrouding trees ©Adam Letch

灵感来源于 Horace Gifford 和 Kengo Kuma 木制小屋的概念,他们将树洞的中空空间带入设计;同时 Louis Kahn 纯粹的形式感和 Carlo Scarpa 在细节上的处理也被建筑师借鉴到设计过程中。这个住宅在空间组织上探讨了纯粹的几何形态,中间是一个正方形,每条边被三等分,其中的两份定义了圆柱形模块的直径,最后的平面形成了一个风车的形态。

Inspiration was drawn from the timber cabins of Horace Gifford and Kengo Kuma’s notions of working with the void or in-between space, while Louis Kahn’s mastery of pure form and the detailing ethic of Carlo Scarpa informed a process of geometric restraint and handcrafted manufacturing. The organisational diagramme of the structure explores the pure geometry of a square, with each side divided into three modules and where two of these modules determine the diameter of a circle on each of the four sides of the square – resulting in a pin-wheel plan layout.

▼结构示意,structural diagram


A square is directional and a circle not – the square relates to the North/South site geometry and the four circles to the organic and natural surroundings. Each circle’s centre is the location for a column, and circular rings, supporting the floor beams above, are connected to the columns by means of branch-like arms. Each ring circumscribes a half-round space ancillary to the main square living space on that level.

▼住宅入口,entry of the building Left: ©Adam Letch | Right: ©Mickey Hoyle


▼下层起居空间,living space on the ground floor ©Adam Letch

▼起居室的景色,view in the living room ©Adam Letch

▼两层通高的空间,the two-story-height space ©Adam Letch


The building becomes a vertically arranged “clearing in the forest”, with living space on level one, a bedroom on level two and a roof deck on the third. A plant room is located at ground level below the building. The half round bays accommodate a patio, dining alcove and stair on the living level, a bathroom on the bedroom level and a built-in seat on the roof deck level – the pure geometries provide articulation to the spaces. The building lightly touches the ground, and entry is by means of a suspended timber and Corten steel ramp.

▼卧室,bedroom ©Adam Letch

▼浴室,bathroom ©Mickey Hoyle

▼屋顶露台,terrace ©Mickey Hoyle


The columns, arms and rings are constructed from laser-cut and folded Corten steel plate, and each column is divided into four ‘trunks’ in the interest of transparency, slenderness and to allow floor beams and windows to pass through the centre points of the rings. The steel trees support timber floors beams, facade glazing and a western red cedar building envelope. The connections between steel and timber are expressed by means of hand-turned brass components. All materials are left untreated, and will express the passing of time as they weather naturally with the surrounding trees.

▼楼梯,staircase ©Adam Letch


▼细部结构,the structural detail ©Adam Letch

▼支撑结构,supporting system ©Mickey Hoyle


▼夜景,nightscape ©Adam Letch






Project Name: House Paarman Tree House
Project Address: Constantia Main Road, Constantia, Cape Town South Africa

Architects: Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design
Project Team [architects]: Pieter Malan, Jan-Heyn Vorster & Peter Urry

Structural Engineers: Henry Fagan & Partners
Landscape Architect: Mary Maurel Gardens

Quantity Surveyor: DA Quantity Surveyors
Contractor: Theunis Naude, Link Engineering

Photographer: Adam Letch, Micky Hoyle
Author of Text: Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design

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