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Conservatory House in Pretoria by Nadine Engelbrecht

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Distant view of the Conservatory House with solar panels in the roof
Conservatory entry with automated glass façade
Detailed view of the conservatory with automated glass façade

Conservatory House is an off-grid home in the countryside with a conservatory at the heart of the building which provides views of the gorgeous 35 acre farm and helps to heat the cool the house. In winter the conservatory is configured to allow solar penetration while keeping cold air out. This passive heat is released into the adjoining living spaces by opening the desired partitions. In warm summer months an automated glass façade opens up the conservatory to create an outside patio which allows natural cross ventilation to flow constantly though the house.

Conservatory entry view with translucent roof sheet and a timber dining set in the centre
View of the kitchen room from the conservatory

Designed by architect Nadine Engelbrecht, the home is 100% off grid with the homes energy provided by rooftop solar panels and the water is sourced by two large dams on the property. An indulgent and cleverly integrated addition to the home is an underground wine cellar, which you get glimpses into via the glass floor at the conservatory entry.

A floor-opening stair leading to the underground wine cellar of conservatory house
Conservatory House underground wine cellar with a wooden dining set
Distant view of the Conservatory surrounded by grass

Sustainability specs:
– Passive design principles ensure the home is comfortable through the extremes of summer and winter
– Operable glazing on the conservatory is used for ventilation and cooling in the warmer months
– Water is supplied via two onsite dams
– Rooftop photovoltaic panels provide all the electricity for the house
– Water is heated via a solar geyser
– Indoor planting to connect the indoors with the surroundings
– Green roof covering a portion of the roof
– Furniture sourced locally
– Durable and low maintenance materials selected
– Timber used throughout
– Translucent roof sheeting used on the conservatory to flood the core of the home with light
– Shutters and overhanging patio on the western side block hot afternoon sun

A glimpse of the farm from the conservatory with timber dining set and wooden chandelier lamp
A woman enters the study room through the glass door
Kitchen area inside the Conservatory House in Pretoria by Nadine Engelbrecht
From the architect:

The principal requirement of the project consisted of creating a retreat for its occupants from a hectic urban lifestyle. The client obtained an underutilised 35 hectare farm outside of Pretoria with magnificent views. The house had to have a strong relationship with its immediate landscape and living spaces had to embrace the surroundings, breaking away from conventional space allocation.

Images courtesy of Nadine Engelbrecht. Photography by Marsel Roothman
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