Houses by FRANCOIS MARAIS ARCHITECTS

4 of South Africa’s most popular house design styles

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Every type of architectural style has a history to it. But as the South African architectural landscape is still relatively young (compared to Europe and America), our country offers fewer house design styles.

However, South Africa still has its fair share of designs (and architects) to brag about. Many of these are 20th century modern, but one doesn’t have to look very far to see modern homes borrowing from other designs and periods. Looking at a lot of residential neighbourhoods in our country, for instance, you can see Victorian houses with a modern wing or a contemporary roof.

But when it comes to residential structures, which house design styles reign supreme in South Africa? Let’s find out…  

1. The modern house design style

Modern architecture became popular after the second World War and since then has been the most sought-after design style. 

Similar to modern art, literature and music, modern architecture developed from the Industrial Revolution’s Enlightenment and new developments in technology. Modern design is also said to be a reaction to eclecticism, the lavish style of the Victorian era, as well as the later Art Nouveau’s detail-oriented looks. 


2. The Cape Dutch house design style

Real Cape Dutch-style buildings can be seen in numerous places in Cape Town (especially on quite a few wine farms), and are considered valuable monuments. Thick walls, stable doors, square multi-paned windows, and the grand, ornately rounded gables (reminiscent of features in Amsterdam townhouses built in the Dutch style) are prominent features of Cape Dutch architecture.

Other features that have become part and parcel of Cape Dutch houses are green and white colour schemes, wooden floors, terracotta tiles (for interiors as well as outdoor patios), and shuttered windows. 


3. The Victorian house design style

The Victorian-style structures can be seen in both ‘servant’-cottage terrace houses as well as free-standing mansions. The Victorians favoured high ceilings, generous doorways and sash windows, and even today a lot of Victorian houses still flaunt these features. 

Typical of the Victorian era, a lot of Victorian house designs enjoy decorative details like pressed ceilings, embossed wallpaper, cornices and iron balustrades. 


4. The Tuscan house design style

Quite a popular design style in South Africa and abroad, Tuscan homes echo the traditional architecture of Tuscany, located in central Italy. These large, double-storey, symmetrical structures are usually built from stone, wood, wrought-iron and tile, with an earthy / neutral colour palette. 

Houses built in the Tuscan design style are slightly rustic yet very stylish, making them ideal for the South African climate, which is quite similar to the Mediterranean setting. 


5. The right professionals for your chosen house design style

Super modern, classy contemporary, Tuscan rustic… it doesn’t matter which type of house design style you prefer, a seasoned architectural firm is still crucial for top-notch results. And that is exactly why Francois Marais Architects is so well-known.

Established in 1996, the company has evolved to become one of the biggest and most influential architectural firms in the country. With branches in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, the firm has made a name for itself with deluxe residential designs, but also has quite the number of commercial spaces listed in its portfolio. Aside from high-class designs, Francois Marais Architects also specialises in energy-efficient and green-star rated buildings for its clients, in both the commercial and residential fields.  

Speaking of architectural designs, here is What to know about container homes in South Africa.

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