Requested to build “nothing that looks like a house,” an architect creates a barn-inspired retreat with its own conservatory to help regulate interior climate throughout the year.

When Nadine Engelbrecht’s parents asked her to design a rural residence for them that looked nothing like an ordinary home, they were seeking a place in which they could escape the hectic pace of urban living. Through an unconventional floor plan and barn-inspired design, the South African architect has brought this request to life on her parents’ 80-acre farmland just outside of Pretoria. 

There are two nearby dams on the farmland that provide drinking water for the off-grid home.

There are two nearby dams on the farmland that provide drinking water for the off-grid home.  

Courtesy of Marsel Roothman

Tapping into the vernacular of the nearby African barns, the 6,458-square-foot house, named The Conservatory, has been designed with a massive glass facade. At the push of a button, this glazed facade retracts discreetly upward toward the soaring, pitched roof to open the lofty interiors to the grassy farmland outdoors. 



Exposed steel, concrete soffits, and cement-washed bricks were been chosen as key components of the home due to the materials having low-maintenance, yet being extremely durable.

Exposed steel, concrete soffits, and cement-washed bricks were been chosen as key components of the home due to the materials having low-maintenance, yet being extremely durable.   

Courtesy of Marsel Roothman

Warm tones of timber combined with polished concrete floors and industrial-style cabinetry give the interiors a modern, paired-back look.

Warm tones of timber combined with polished concrete floors and industrial-style cabinetry give the interiors a modern, paired-back look. 

Courtesy of Marsel Roothman

See the full story on Dwell.com: A South African Architect Designs an Off-Grid, Modern Home For Her Parents

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