location: Mjejane Game Reserve – Kruger National Park | architecture: Archi–Studio Architects | project architects: Demo and Alessandro Salerno | interior: Archi–Studio Architects, Caliope Salerno | photography: Christopher Salerno
Mjejane Game Reserve lies within the southern reaches of the Kruger National Park and is the only freehold development within the Greater Kruger. This richly vegetated 2 400-square metre site sits along the reserve’s 11-kilometre Crocodile River frontage.
Framed by two magnificent Ironwood trees, the site projects out over rock-strewn rapids, which permeate the silence of the Kruger with rich liquid tones. Supplementing panoramic views of the river, picturesque shimmering floodplains are a paradise for abundant wildlife. The site offered a unique opportunity on its western boundary – located next to a belt of lush vegetation – creating the impression that the property is isolated, allowing wildlife to move freely along its boundaries.
The site was blessed with a huge Milkberry tree from which the name N’Wambu Lodge was derived. To further challenge the architects, the property lies along a thick clay belt, which encouraged them to design a structure that would be free from any unpredictable geological movements.
As a second home, the owners required a relaxed and rustic modern living experience within generous uncluttered spaces, which would be comfortable for family and friends. Say the architects: ‘This was to be a light and airy structure with a unique identity, free from preconceived architectural styles.
‘The individual functions were to be clearly defined, while simultaneously connecting to a common gathering space: a secured, uncluttered courtyard around the Milkberry tree. Although enjoying a mere 30 metres of river frontage, the client brief was for a house which appeared to be isolated in order to embrace the surrounding indigenous bush and African sunsets.’
Designed within the estate’s architectural guidelines, this 600-square metre build represents a fresh take on the rustic sophistication of luxury bush accommodation. It’s the result of an architectural and interior design concept, which saw the property not only as a space for luxury accommodation, but as a series of experiences individually designed to capture the essence of a unique African bush lodge, within a modern context.
Rich textures allow the lodge to grow from and blend with its natural surroundings. Relic elements defined by organic shapes, anthill-like structures and natural materials are juxtaposed with the rectangular forms of steel and glass, to create a harmonious whole; a blend of old and new, natural and man-made.
For the full article see Habitat #265 May / June 2018
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