Project name: 90a_bellamont

Location: Durban, South Africa

Date completed: February 2018

Architect: George Elphick

Interior Designer: _novospace

Developer: Geka Investment Trust

Construction Company: Stefcon

90a_Bellamont is a unique four villa enclave set by Elphick Proome Architects on upper slopes of a dense sub-tropical forested dune in Umdloti overlooking the Indian Ocean. The villas are carefully placed in a sectional arrangement that maintains and protects their outlook and privacy, yet still connects with ocean and dune forest in a quiet way. Elphick Proome Architects’ composition exhibits a boldly legible, but not overpowering architectural expression allowing the forms to blend into the verdant environs. A gentle roof incline and broad stacking-sliding glass façades promote a relaxed coastal lifestyle and open arrangement, creating a living ‘umbrella’ that engages with the indigenous landscape and seaside climate.

Each villa is arranged over two levels; living on the upper level and sleeping spaces on the lower. Deep verandas interface upper living spaces which extend to covered, sea-facing terraces. Formally landscaped courtyards and swimming pools are secluded and protected from prevailing ocean winds on the inland side. With interiors and materials carefully crafted by Elphick Proome Architects to create an air of simplicity and withstand tough coastal conditions, the off-shutter concrete shell is offset with selected stucco walls and ceiling bulkheads in extreme white. Polished concrete floors provide a neutral, contrasting base to the warmth of natural white-oak joinery throughout. Overall Elphick Proome Architects’ project exhibits a crafted aesthetic, with wide roof overhangs and extensive glazing, marking the composition with strong linear forms that imbue the architecture with a unique and dramatic quality.

This project is special in its application of off-shutter concrete in local residential architecture. Concrete is the primary material and is reflected in a raw form internally wherever it is deployed to retain an honest expression. This material is rarely used as a driver of domestic design solutions and seldom deployed as the primary finish in this context. All materials were carefully selected to be tough to withstand the location’s coastal conditions and to impart a raw and unassuming finish. The spare quality of the interior spaces created by the villas’ concrete shell is ultimately designed to frame the azure blue vastness of the Indian Ocean as an ever-present focus upon the panoramic horizon.

Elphick Proome Architects