The site is precipitous and exposed—on a 100-metre cliff, facing into southerlies of up to 130km/hr.
The building had to feel anchored and balanced. I’d seen Machu Picchu—I told John I wanted a heavy building that grew out of the ground.
There are two 980kg sliding glass doors facing south. For them to work required a completely level track ± 1mm.
I would never have attempted the house without a builder of John’s ability. His great talent is finding exceptional tradesmen, who have a passion for what they do. John found three of the best stonemasons in the country and then had a ‘build off’ where they each built a small wall to see how they handled sandstone.
I can’t speak well enough of Bellevarde’s foreman. He was just excellent—enthusiastic, genuine, keen to keep learning and growing and his enthusiasm fired the whole team. He had architecture books in his site office!