Conservatories, for most of us Britons, are slightly sad places. Used for their true, sunny purposes only a handful of days a year, we tend to use these glass houses as store rooms for sad house plants and wicker furniture. But take a trip to South Africa and you’ll forget everything you think you know about the humble conservatory.
Near Pretoria, sat towards the north of South Africa, is one of the most striking conservatories we’ve ever seen. Upgraded from a back-wall tag-on, this glass room forms the centre of an entire house designed by Nadine Engelbrecht Architects to create a space that really does bring the outside in.
Vast doors allow for fresh air to cool the entire house in the peak of summer while also creating even more living space by opening up onto a patio that’s begging for sunbathers.
And this huge conservatory is functional, too. It may just appear to be an excellent living space, but it also acts as a heating and cooling system for the entire house. Built-in partitions can open up to other rooms, meaning all that warmth heat-trapped by the windows can be spread throughout the house in winter, and the summer breezes that drift through the windows can cool the house in the same way.
But it’s not all about the glass house. Another of the features that caught our eye was a wine cellar that can be glimpsed through the glass floor panels and accessed through a seamlessly integrated trap door. It’s just one more stunning feature in this grand, glass cathedral.
Unfortunately, it’s not for sale. But, if you’re lucky enough to get an invite to stay in one of the guest rooms, you’ll be greeted with fantastic views of the Pretorian countryside during your stay. And, once you’re back in Britain, it’ll make your PVC conservatory look little better than a greenhouse…
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