“If you can’t take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen!” Throwing such expressions around would have made the residents of House Abo double over with laughter. And in between chuckles they’d have to pause to wipe beads of sweat from their foreheads. This family lived in a home where every room was, literally, an oven. Then Nico van der Meulen Architects changed their fate.
House Abo is located in the very hot Limpopo area, on the Tropic of Capricorn, to be more precise. When Nico van der Meulen Architects got their hands on it, it had all the hallmarks of a home built for a Russian climate – vaulted roofs, face brick walls, small windows, heavy masonry…structural elements perfect for keeping heat in.
The key to redesigning House Abo lay in giving the house the ability to self-regulate its temperature. Nico van der Meulen Architects achieved this, while taking other client requirements into consideration. The home required a guest bedroom, a complete renovation of the bedroom wing and the opening up of living areas.
A natural cooling process was created using cross-ventilation techniques. Nico van der Meulen Architects installed frameless, folding doors, which had a double effect – they opened up and ventilated the living space to maximise air movement and reduce radiant heat. Windows were also placed opposite each other to allow greater cross-ventilation in the bedroom wing.
House Abo’s temperature is also sun-regulated and well insulated. Only in winter does sunlight enter, while lightweight insulators allow the house to cool down faster at night. Nico van der Meulen Architects also achieved a natural cooling process through the pool and various water features installed.
For more information on how you can make your home self-regulating and spacious, visit the Nico van der Meulen Architects website at www.nicovdmeulen.com.