In 1971 the highly regarded architects Adèle Naudé Santos and Antonio de Souza Santos completed the Damian, one of only seven buildings they designed in and around Cape Town between 1967 and 1972 before furthering their careers abroad. Both architects were illustrious and Adèle Naudé Santos went on to become the dean of architecture at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She and Antonio left behind buildings admired and studied by architects and design students ever since.
The Damian consists of only four units. Each of the four units is expansive and stretches over multiple levels. Square and robust from the outside, the building’s northern facade features giant concrete planter boxes with cascading greenery softening the edges of the building.
One of these townhouse apartments has been newly restored by blockplan architecture and interior design using finishes of the highest quality. The unit features a ground floor with north-facing, double-volume living spaces. A wall of glass opens onto a private-use, water-wise garden with a mini forest of trees.
Moving through this home is a surprising, whimsical experience as curved walls and unusual angles gently guide you through the space. On the ground floor you’ll find a snow white kitchen with an outside entrance, a guest w/c, and a study or fourth bedroom. A spiral staircase cast out of concrete, its curves a dramatic sculpture next to a three-metre-high American walnut bookshelf, takes you up to the second storey, with its two large bedrooms, one with a balcony offering views of Table Mountain and nestled in the treetops of the trees in your garden below. On this level you’ll also find a bathroom, a separate w/c, and a study desk with separate flat.
Read more about the Damian’s architecture in Ilze Wolff’s book Adèle Naudé Santos and Antonio de Souza Santos Cape Town Work.