House Hakahana


Around 1959, Hellmut Stauch (1910-1970) designed one of the most seminal buildings of the late Modern Movement in Pretoria, South Africa. Hakahana (meaning quick in Herero), located on a smallholding to the west of Pretoria, was his family home. Here he brought together Modern Movement architectural principles such as efficiency, health and economy, learnt through his education at the Ittenschule in Germany, with an appreciation of the local context, climate and available materials.

He conceptualised the home as set between the earth and dreams. Living spaces were grounded and made from materials of the site and were directly connected to water. Bedrooms 'floated' in the air with lighter timber frames and floor to ceiling glazing providing an abundance of natural light and ventilation. The attenuated plan of the house aligned with the contours and provided a 'healthy' connection to the warming winter sun and extensive landscape views, firmly anchoring the house to its context.

For me, the architecture is timeless. The efficient but flexible spaces and deeply rooted contextual responses provide a unique architectural synergy from which we can all learn many lessons.