December 2018 – A YEAR OF SHIFTING SCALES (Demo)




So, we reach the end of another year at Nico van der Meulen Architects and M Square Lifestyle Design. And what a year it has been…

The tail-end of a year is often a time when we sit back and reflect, pondering the happenings and shifts that occurred throughout a year of ups and downs. We consider the value of our work, project hope and anticipation for a new year, new challenges and opportunities, and are humbled by the prospects we enjoyed during the past year.

This year has been no different!



The past year has challenged us across a multitude of scales which shifted from large

residential developments, intermediate multi-residential developments, as well as a considerable amount of single residential houses and the taste of some commercial work.

Our team has grown throughout this process, developing new skills and honing the old.

The office has expanded on its philosophy to incorporate design at every phase of the process.

We aimed to keep you abreast of progress and new developments via our social

media platforms, seeing as 2018 was the year for social media. We celebrated the successful recognition of published and featured projects, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award for Nico van der Meulen himself. We are grateful for these honours.



As we are nearing the end of 2018, it provides ample opportunity to offer a glimpse of a few completed projects that have not enjoyed much attention.

House Pon, located in Waterfall Estate, is quite an interesting project in that the design had to adhere to quite a steep terrain, dramatically terraced from West to East. The benefit of this was the widespread East-West frontage for more than adequate Northern light all year round. The house features an elegant butterfly roof that seemingly leaps over the entrance as one approaches the house.

Another house completed in 2018 is an altered house in Sandown. This was a relatively small scale renovation at first, culminating in the house doubling in size, from 160m² to 320m². The uniqueness of this house lies in the river that flows through the site, creating a tranquil landscaped enclave.

The house is characterised by simple forms, a mono-pitched roof, creating high voluminous interior spaces. Upon one’s approach, a charcoal coloured steel cube hovers over the edge of the boundary wall, peering out behind a lush decade old tree. This is the location of the Main Bedroom Suite. Although the scale of this house is quite unique among the repertoire of our projects, the attention to detailing and delicacy of finishing throughout the interior by MSLD is superb.


Throughout the year, as some of our readers may have noticed, we launched an online, social media campaign to showcase our portfolio of recently completed and upcoming international work. We are privileged to continuously expand on this portfolio, with a distinct project in Casablanca, Morocco.

This 5-storey dwelling was redesigned upon the client’s request, with a complete change in the exterior of the house. The property is quite confined, with a very introverted, towering house taking up most of the stand.  This notion was altered by creating fibre-cement fins, vertical profiles of varying depths to create deepness and body to this building.

From the street the building is read as 2-storeys, while on the lower level it is a complete 4-storey building. As has become quite synonymous with


some of our recent projects, the use of landscape as part of, and integrated into the house on different levels, features strongly, softening the hard exterior of the house.  MSLD is also involved in creating a sophisticated medley of designs and finishes that comes into its own in the Moroccan city.


Amongst these international projects, we are also underway with 10 new units in Ivory Coast, all of which are different designs, adhering to a similar design language, which subtly creates a unique multi-residential development.

In the DRC, we have an exciting project for a returning client, where we are designing his new residence in Lubumbashi, along with quite minimalistic interiors to suit. The house will be treated with Limestone cladding externally and internally, and Porcelain tiling throughout the house.  The aim was to focus on minimising adornment.

Locally we have expanded on our portfolio of residential apartment projects, as well as alternative methods of construction and detailing.

An interesting endeavour is a new project in Sable Hills on the banks of the Roodeplaat Dam.   We are experimenting with rammed earth as a building material, constructing a house that is rooted to its setting in the area characterised by Lowveld fauna and flora.  The house aims to respond to its context, as well as being a contributor to the environment with sand as a building material.



Throughout the year we have had a few new projects move to site work, construction phase, while we also have a few that have lingered since 2017.

A project that is gaining some traction throughout this year and the next is a 3000sq.m. house on a 6000 sq. m. stand in a prime Sandhurst area.  The house represents an abstract sculptural edifice, embedded into an ancient area, turning the normal concept of a dwelling on its head.  Driving through a cleft between the “boulders” one arrives under a protected Porte Cochere from where one enters a three storey “gorge” between the two wings.

House Bloem, in Bloemfontein, continued well into the year, making good strides and well executed workmanship. This seemingly weightless house behind Naval Hill is slowly bec

oming .a landmark piece of architecture in the area.  The interior is a very interesting amalgamation of the clients’ tastes and interior design elements which are well crafted.





Extending on from our 2017 philosophy, we have grown into a team where NVDM & MSLD provides a holistically integrated service, and strives towards the best design solutions on every project.

We appreciate the time you have taken to visit our social media platforms, shared your thoughts and engaged in conversation throughout the year, and we would like to thank you for your cont

inued support and interest.

Nico van der Meulen and the NVDM & MSLD teams wish to extend their best and sincere wishes for a joyous festive season and the happiest holidays, and prosperous new year’s celebrations.


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