Winelands Architect Attracting Interest for his Unique Architectural Style
30 September 2015 – Louis Phillips is synonymous with Cape Town’s winelands architecture. His internationally recognised and highly sought-after designs are often the preferred choice for homeowners at some of South Africa’s most luxurious estates.
Louis Phillips Architects & Associates’ contemporary style is especially beautifully showcased at Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate – recently named the Top Residential Estate in South Africa 2015 by New World Wealth – with no fewer than 78 homes to date bearing Phillips’ unique architectural stamp. “My approach is to craft a unique design for each client to fit their individual lifestyle needs, whether it’s a family with children, a business owner working from home or people who entertain regularly,” Phillips explains.
This individualised approach combines with Phillips’ ability to interpret from his own experiences and intimate knowledge of Pearl Valley’s unique setting in the Berg River valley, surrounded by the Simonsberg mountain. “Having grown up in Paarl, I’m familiar with the local nuances, such as the location of the sun at certain times of the day, wind factors, and temperature changes as the seasons progress,” he says, “and we take cognisance of these factors when we design. It’s also become increasingly important to consider orientation, which is known to impact energy efficiency, as homeowners have developed a greater awareness of and desire for energy-efficient solutions.”
Phillips’ open-plan style lends itself perfectly to incorporating outdoor living, which at Pearl Valley means taking advantage of spectacular views – with the estate boasting some of the Cape winelands’ most scenic panoramas. Whether overlooking a lake, the mountains or the fairway, the ultimate goal is to draw the outside in, bringing these stunning views to the fore and showcasing the natural surrounds in which the home is nestled.
In 2013, Phillips and his partners’ simple yet elegant approach was rewarded when the firm achieved third place in the Grand Prix international architectural competition in the residential category. More than 250 designers worldwide entered the competition, backed by prestigious Italian brand Casalgrande Padana. Phillips’ achievement is all the more impressive as Casalgrande Padana entered his design without his prior knowledge.
Louis Phillips’ architectural journey has spanned over two decades. After matriculating from Paarl Boys’ High School and completing his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Port Elizabeth (now the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) in 1995, Phillips returned to the Cape winelands. He steadily built up a reputation in the region, completing more and more luxury homes.
“Pearl Valley is unique and special for many reasons, which differentiates it from other estates,” says Philips. “Apart from the award-winning Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, which is the estate’s showpiece, there are the world-class facilities, the integration of lakes that reflect the mountains and landscape, and of course the views.”
The large, north-facing plots – with options ranging from 900m² to 1 300m² – contribute to a feeling of both space and privacy, while the “clever building-line system” opens up the vistas between the homes, eliminating the cluttered feeling so often found on other estates.
Phillips’ design journey with a homeowner will start with spending time with the client to truly appreciate their lifestyle needs. “It’s essential to really understand both the client and their vision for their home,” he explains. The view, orientation and spatial flow are then considered, before Philips begins “an interactive and dynamic process” that culminates in a final concept that the client loves.
Pearl Valley is, unlike many residential estates, fairly accommodating in terms of architectural guidelines, in the establishment of which Phillips’ played a guiding role. As a result, “If you want to build something unique and truly special, you can do that at Pearl Valley,” he says.