‘Home’ - What ‘Bo Plaas’ and Home Means to Me. By Andrew Saunders
‘Home’ – What ‘Bo Plaas’ and Home Means to Me
‘Bo Plaas’ is Afrikaans for Top/Upper (Bo) Farm (Plaas) which references a prominent wine farm in South Africa near where we used to live. We even have a previous project named Shamwari, after a game reserve in Paterson, South Africa. The ritual of naming places in our home the same as others from South Africa allows us to be closer to them, even through jokes or having to explain the name to guests. Is it obnoxious? Maybe. Does it bring us joy and bring pride? Absolutely.
My dad asked me to design this summer house so we could construct it together, discovering where we had gaps and opportunities to do some problem-solving. As an architecture student in Birmingham this proved handy in building my practical knowledge and provided circumstances where I was able to educate my dad also, whether it was design principles, history or regulations. The ability to apply my skills, to try and fail in a practical circumstance, was valuable.
Quarantine has brought an opportunity for us to experiment. What skills do we have? What skills do we each have? What else
could we learn? That’s what home fundamentally embodies – lessons learned and lessons shared. I believe quarantine has brought us together in a way we didn’t expect, challenging us to truly value our time together.
Bo Plaas Construction
The structure provides a shelter akin to a summer house.
It is a timber frame structure with acrylic Perspex windows.
Planning constraints involved the removal of tree stumps on site, with modifications of the existing structure to be made safe. The beams and floor needed to be straightened.
Aside from a submerged stump, no other trees were required to be trimmed or harmed.
When you approach the structure, you are met by a welcoming deck leading to a structure clad in vertical timber slats.
Modifications to the timber doors have made dynamic openings creating an environment free from weathering, providing a place of comfort when it rains or intense summer sun.
The large doors are designed to bifold so that the indoor space is bridged with the outdoor, creating a comfortable flow. They open out to a deck where social gatherings, primarily BBQs (or a ‘Braai’ in Afrikaans), can be held. The chamfered corner provides a smooth transition between the garden and the sitting area with a single step.
The design of the doors reflects the exterior cladding, carrying the same motif of the slats. The use of these slats carries a strong vertical element to encourage looking up giving an impression of a taller structure, enhancing what is a small footprint of 20sqm.
Budget estimate: £1000
Total costs post construction: £870
(construction sequence and documenting of problem-solving (including further diagrams) will be shown on my Instagram account @p.andy.s and @andy.pany)