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The most beautiful house in the most beautiful town

When one thinks of Stellenbosch landmarks, it’s mainly Cape Dutch gables, ancient oak trees and whitewashed university buildings that spring to mind. 

Yet one of the most eye-catching and talked about buildings in the Boland town is not one of its historic landmarks dating back several hundred years – it’s a private residence on the slopes of Stellenbosch Berg, built only 50 years ago. “De Hoge Hoek” is a testament to one man’s love of wood, and was described by one architect as “the most beautiful house in the most beautiful town in the most beautiful corner of the world”. This unique and sometimes controversial home has now come onto the market through Pam Golding Properties, priced at R6.9 million.


On both levels of the home, several rooms have sliding doors opening into the garden, which includes a large saltwater-chlorinated pool measuring 4 x 10m.

The name “De Hoge Hoek” translates from Dutch as “the high peak” – a name reflecting both the property’s elevated location, and its unusual hyperbolic paraboloid roof design. The home’s story begins in the late 1950’s, when Dutch timber merchant and sailing enthusiast Kees Bruynzeel moved to South Africa. He wished to construct a home which showcased the possibilities of building with wood, and hired a rising star from a leading Dutch architectural practice, Aart Bijl, to realise his vision. Bijl and his mentor Pius Pahl were both followers of the Bauhaus tradition, known for its clean straight lines and integration of form and function. The young architect both incorporated and exceeded this tradition as he designed the new Stellenbosch home from the roof down - using teak rafters and yellowwood ceilings to create the unique saddle-shaped sweep. The roof never rests directly on the walls, but rather on the home’s massive windows, and has space to move under pressure from inclement weather. The home’s walls were designed on a slight slope of just three degrees, creating elegant lines with a finish of face brick, using custom-made extra-slim bricks. The home is noted for the high quality of its workmanship, with finishes including teak panels, moulded plaster ceilings in the bedrooms, and huge expanses of glass set in teak frames. The unique roof design means that some corners of the home enjoy a ceiling height of up to 6m, while the large windows frame magnificent views towards the Simonsberg, Stellenboschberg and even the back slopes of Table Mountain.

On completion in 1962, this super-modern design met with mixed reaction from the local community – it outraged some and delighted others, most notably engineers and creatives. And it has remained a talking point ever since. 


The unique roof design means that some corners of the home enjoy a ceiling height of up to 6m.

De Hoge Hoek occupies a plot of just over 2100sqm, and has its entrance on the upper level, leading into a mainly open-plan living space with a formal lounge, dining room and study, as well as a modern kitchen and a small mezzanine library or family room. The lower level contains the sleeping quarters, with a master bedroom suite and two additional bedrooms, as well as a family bathroom, linen room, wine cellar and several storage rooms. A double garage and off-street parking area are also located on this level, although tucked away from view. 

On both levels of the home, several rooms have sliding doors opening into the garden, which is an indigenous wonderland including a huge variety of established trees, proteas and other flowers, which attract abundant birdlife. A large saltwater-chlorinated pool measuring 4 x 10m is located in the front garden, while two of the bedrooms open into the more private inner garden. An annex to the main building includes a laundry and small guest suite or staff quarters.


One of the most eye-catching and talked about buildings in Stellenbosch has come onto the market through Pam Golding Properties, priced at R6.9 million. “De Hoge Hoek” translates from Dutch as “the high peak” – a name reflecting both the property’s elevated location, and its unusual hyperbolic paraboloid roof design.

PGP agent Lizette Botha says the property will appeal to those with a love of design and an eye for the unusual. “This home has a great sense of space and light, and its interiors always feel connected to the outdoors thanks to the huge windows and the use of natural colours in the construction,” she says. “The living areas are cleverly demarcated with room dividers such as bookshelves and fireplaces, rather than by walls, so there is a wonderful sense of flow throughout the house. And the quality of finishes reflects Bruynzeel’s meticulous attention to detail, resulting in a home that is quite simply like no other.”

The property is located in Welgelegen, a popular suburb known for its sheltered location and quiet atmosphere, as well as its large plots. The centre of town is a short walk away, while top schools and other amenities can be reached within 10 minutes’ drive.


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