Situated on a cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Villa Sow in Dakar, Senegal was completed in 2011, with SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, the Architects and ANTONI ASSOCIATES doing the Interior Decor. The house was designed for a Senegalese businessman and his family.
Built on the site of an old World War Two bunker and on the edge of a cliff, Villa Sow maximises its commanding position to create a house that is not only dramatic but with the incorporation of historical elements quite magical and mysterious.
Part of the old bunker has been retained and a portion of it now houses an underground cinema that opens up into a water courtyard /moat that runs along the boundary creating a water feature at the gateway to the property. It is connected back to the house via a timber panelled walkway leading to a spiral staircase that runs from the lower ground through to the first floor and second floor levels of the villa.
‘Whilst the cliffside site presented an extraordinary opportunity for a house on the edge of Dakar’s CBD, the slowly eroding nature of the cliff face required a very carefully considered structural solution.’ says Greg Truen, Project Partner, ’resulting in a building design that seemed to float off the cliff’s edge’.
The ground floor of the house, designed to facilitate seamless indoor and outdoor living and entertainment, is arranged in an L shape around the pool, the pool terrace and the garden. The formal Living and Dining spaces cantilever over the cliff and hang over the Atlantic Ocean enjoying panoramic sea views as well as views back to the house. The Kitchen made up of a so called ‘American’ or open kitchen and a separate traditional kitchen as well as the garage and staff facilities run along the east west axis and along the northern side of the boundary. From the Entrance one moves past the sculptural circular stair to the Entertainment Room and the double volume Family Lounge which connects up with a floating stair to the upper level Pyjama Lounge. The Main and the two children’s bedrooms are placed on this upper level.
‘The huge overhanging roof which projects over the upper level and the outdoor Living level creates a dramatic double volume outdoor space and gives the entire home a sense of unity’ says partner Stefan Antoni.
One of the features of the house is the spiral staircase, clad in stainless steel, while the treads are clad in white granite. To add to the sense of continuity between the levels the 20mm in diameter stainless steel rods run from the first floor handrail to the lower ground floor, thus making the stairwell look like a sculptural steel cylinder. A skylight above the stairwell as well as floor to ceiling glazing in the lounges adds to the sense of transparency.
The Main Bedroom Suite opens up onto a large terrace which is the roof of the more formal living wing of the house and the element which projects over to the ocean. The Main Bathroom opens into a private garden and outdoor shower situated over the garages.
The study / office sits in a separate block and is joined to the main house by a hallway running along the spine of the building. Under the study/office is a separate fully contained guest room, alongside which is a private gym and reflecting pond.
The sculptural modernist exterior and shell is counter balanced with the use of warm and textured materials and finishes. Hardwood timber decks contrast with the textured granite internal floors. Natural timber wall panelling contrasts with the beaten and polished stainless steel panels as well as the black Nero Marquina marble and duco / glass kitchen joinery. Rough cut quarried stone finishes contrast with smooth marble surfaces.
The material selection for the house provided the ideal backdrop for ANTONI ASSOCIATES to make their selection of furniture and decor, from a Carolina Sardi wall installation in the kitchen to the AA designed timber installation in the hallway.
“Throughout the villa, modern works of art, many of which are from the client’s private collection, sit comfortably within this luxury residence, creating an intention that is decidedly sleek and contemporary” says Mark Rielly of ANTONI ASSOCIATES.
Location: Dakar, Senegal
Architects: SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Project Team: Stefan Antoni, Greg Truen & Juliet Kavishe
Interior Design: ANTONI ASSOCIATES
Project Team: Mark Rielly, Ashleigh Gilmour & Sarika Jacobs
Completion Date: 2011