First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town

Architects: SAOTA (Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects) – Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Tamaryn Hammond
Location: Camps Bay, South Africa
Interior design: Antoni Associates – Mark Rielly, Ashleigh Gilmour
Project area: 676 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Wieland Gleich & Karl Beath

First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (3)

First Crescent is a stunning seven bedroom rental villa designed by SAOTA – Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects, a Cape Town-based Architecture studio.

This luxury house is located in Camps Bay, South Africa.

According to the architect, First Crescent is “a minimalist home commanding a 270 degree view of Lions Head, Camps Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. All living spaces have a great connection to the covered or uncovered terraces.

The living spaces are highly transparent to take full advantage of the views. The architecture is notable for its use of cantilevers, linear arrangement and limited palette of materials.”

Frescent Crescent can be booked for R15 000 ($1,500) to R65 000 ($6,500) per day, depending on the season.

First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (4)

This incredible house nestled at the foot of Table Mountain, Cape Town, is known as the First Crescent House.

From concept to completion this house took 5 years to achieve and was the inspired collaboration of Directors, Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl and key Senior Associate, Tamaryn Fourie, from the architectural firm, SAOTA who were able to create the seamless design that makes this home quite simply, magical.

Not without obstacles the original house was a two storey building positioned centrally on a site which measured 50m in length but was only 20m at its widest juncture.

As such the decision to demolish the original house had to be made if they were ever going to maximize the layout potential for the home, keeping only a small basement area which they converted into a quaint guest suite which afforded special views for the family’s visitors.

First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (9)

The challenges the project presented came in the strong linearity of the site and the difficulties that created. It was necessary to find a way to accommodate all the rooms in the home without creating a dull layout. The design team circumvented this by creating a free flowing, open plan living space which incorporates outdoor spaces as part of the whole living experience. Floor to ceiling windows affording incredibly dramatic views of Camps Bay and Lion’s Head work in sympatico with simple detailing and clean lines to avoid distracting the occupants from anything other than the incredible setting in which they live.

A brilliantly clever design has resulted in the roof appearing slim when structurally it needed to be 600mm deep.  The architects from SAOTA opted to recess the structural beams into the ceiling void so that once the roof edge was faced with a 200mm high steel beam – this was all that became visible.  In effect they created the appearance of a slim line ‘eyebrow’ to shelter the bedrooms from the exposed and harsh west setting sun!

 First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (12)

The illusion of minimal support these architects created through using a reinforced concrete beam and framed structure concealed within the ceiling space, allowed the steel framed to be installed with aluminium cladding making it attractive, water tight and importantly, visually attractive from below. The steel structure cantilevering out over the deck with its cut out view of Table Mountain is breath taking.

Internally the fitting and fixtures are minimalist, linear, clean and stream lined to create a feeling of expanse, openness and calm, that can never be under estimated in home design.

First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (2)

The linear pond and skylight running the full length of the ground floor works to further create a sense of tranquility. This passage has one of the most spectacular views in the world, and with only a single sheet of natural stone recessed into the wall to form the backdrop for the water feature. This allows a seamless link between the indoors and outdoors and gives the occupants a passage of pure pleasure that is another inspired feature in the First Crescent House.

First Crescent Stunning Vacation House in Cape Town by SAOTA (14)

The vanity basin and bath in the master bedroom extend the notion of pleasure in the linear.  A half wall separates bed from bathroom which works to maintain the sense of space that has been created elsewhere throughout the home.

The work of SAOTA on every one of their projects is impressive, beautiful, clever and inspiring, we can’t rave enough about what they can do and the First Crescent House is testament to great architecture. Julia Morgan of Hearst Castle fame said “Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves”. The First Crescent House is able to say “I live in harmony with the environment in which I am set, I’m an essential, beautiful part of this landscape, I give pleasure to the eye and the occupants, I am what every home should aspire to be.”

SAOTA Architects – don’t forget the name.


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