Floating over the trees in one of Durban’s exclusive housing estates ‘The Tree House’ is set amongst one of the North Coast’s precious few remaining indigenous coastal forests.
Architectural firm: Bloc Architects (www.bloc.archi)
Lead Architect: Bloc Architects
Structural Engineer: BPH Engineers
Contractor: Frere Contracting
Photographer: Peter Oravecz (www.podstudio.co.za)
Project year: 2018
Location: Durban, South Africa

© Peter Oravecz

This modern contemporary home seeks to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor living and was designed around the sub-tropical Durban climate.
© Peter Oravecz

The design intent for this house was to create a comfortable open plan living arrangement with great connection to its surroundings; moving the house forward and in line with the natural contours of the site aided in creating the illusion of the bedrooms ‘floating’ above the forests canopy whilst also setting up a natural amphitheatre protected from the wind.
The sea views over the trees to the east and picturesque views of the forests green belt to the south west are maximised by the main façades use of glazing, ensuring a view of the natural surroundings is captured from every room in the house. All glass sliding doors to the first floor disappear seamlessly into cavities giving the home a sense of openness and serenity with plenty of natural light and ventilation. The large expanse of glazing to the ground floor further emphasizes the open plan living.
© Peter Oravecz

The planter around the front elevation of the house completes the immersion with nature. The high and low level windows to the west façade create a beautiful gallery space for the clients personal art collection.
A restrained raw material palette of timber, concrete and stone have been used to complement the natural beauty of the site.

Bloc Architects is the amalgamation of the renowned and established commercial practice Michael Tod Architects (MTA) and the dynamic young practice of BLOC architects. This marriage ensures that clients are assured of over 30 years of established commercial practice, incorporating the full range of typologies and over 1000 built works, and award winning contemporary technological driven design. Through a strong partnership with our clients we strive to produce solutions that exhaust all possibilities, and form spaces that respond harmoniously to all parameters. Regardless of scale or program, our firm is enthusiastic in its approach and professional in its process.
Bloc Architects explores the boundaries of technology as a tool to represent and test their ideas in a format that the client can clearly understand. We believe that architecture has an integral role to play in our global environmental issues and through well-researched practical responses can form a sustainable architecture that is well adapted to its surroundings.
Bloc Architects is a firm that believes in an architecture that organises, understands and gives meaning to the experiences and information it houses. At the core of our architecture is the ability to take a fresh look at design problems and transform limitations into possibilities.