Frankie Pappas International


House of the Big Arch by Frankie Pappas International

Frankie Pappas International have been shortlisted for Residential Architectural Property Award in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2021.

Marrying sandstone cliff and riverine forest, this building occupies a unique place in a nature reserve in the Waterberg mountains of South Africa. House of the Big Arch by Frankie Pappas International is encircled in a landscape of remarkable plants, inspiring cliffs, and prodigious wildlife.

Frankie Pappas International

Frankie Pappas International designed an incredibly thin, 3300mm wide building which allowed the designers to thread the building through the treescape. The trees dictated by where the team were allowed to build; in order to further ensure that no tree would be harmed, Frankie Pappas International laser-scanned the entire site. This project is a projection of the designers’ belief that architecture, landscape and gardening cannot be divided: they are one.

Frankie Pappas International

The building makes use of a very simple set of materials – all of which are the domain of incredible craftsmen. The Waterberg has a strong tradition of rough and imperfect, but wonderfully strong brickwork, and House of the Big Arch maximises on this tradition. It is a careful and direct response to this particular portion, of this particular riverine forest, of this particular portion of the bushveld –  the architecture could exist nowhere else in the world.

Frankie Pappas International

The design brief for Frankie Pappas International was to create a home that disappears into the landscape; that sits amongst the rocks and trees and birds; that offers animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter; that treats the bushveld with its deserved respect. In doing so, the building has become a refuge not only for the clients, but for genets, vervet monkeys, birds, warthog and porcupines. It truly is a building for all the inhabitants of the site.

Frankie Pappas International


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