A roof with a life of its OWN – Rob Vosper Architects for Vosper Residence, Kloof KZN

26 Jul

I loved Durban architect Rob Vosper and his wife Jane’s Kloof home at their front gate already. I started taking pictures of their home, whilst walking down the driveway already, even before I introduced myself to him formally about a year ago. Rob took my enthusiasm in his stride saying snap away, which naturally I did. Being in the steel roofing game, I only had eyes for the dramatic angled sheet metal roofs, but on closer inspection realised that a portion of the Vosper residence has a complete GREEN roof.

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The inspiration for the roof Rob explains was the presidential suite at Tendele Camp, Royal Natal National Park. It is an entirely green roofed building and fitted in splendidly within the context and the aesthetics of the Park. Rob and Jane set out to achieve a similar effect in their own home and the effect is simply breath-taking. The indigenous garden softens the edges of the built structure and seamlessly blends into the environment. Rob and Jane wanted to achieve natural “grassland look” and set about collecting seeds and buying plants but it soon became apparent that the roof had a mind of its own. Certain plants became dominant and the couple just allowed the roof to do its own thing. Throughout the year the hues of the different grasses change creating a sense of theatre to the home, built mostly out of materials like stone concrete and glass. The roof garden over the living space isn’t the only roof garden the home has to offer. Rob created another area on the opposite side of the house with a deeper pocket of soil in which succulents grow. This area is overlooked from Rob’s office and he quips that certain time of the year, when the aloes in the garden are in bloom, there is an immediate visual link to the accent colour of his home office – orange. Rob also chose the option of the roof garden for its environmental benefits. Apart from being thermally efficient, the garden is also abuzz with wildlife such as seed eating birds and the occasional snake.  The Vosper’s have certainly succeeded in their goal in creating a little rooftop Utopia in the heart of Kloof!

For more information contact Rob Vosper on vosper@iafrica.com

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