South Magazine



Knysna architect Jerome Starkey designed this exceptional new residence atop the ridgeline of Simola Golf and Country Estate. He began in early 2020, and the home was completed in June 2022. “So much of what we do is determined by the site,” Jerome explains when asked what inspires him. “Probably most notable at the start of this project was the connection to the Knysna River from the elevated position, and we wanted the home to engage with the views to the west as much as possible.” And make no mistake – truly breath-taking views beyond the enormous front door create an almost natural cinematic experience.

The vista sweeps over the Knysna River and its valley towards the distant Outeniqua Mountains, where the George and Craddock peaks stand in proud profile. The view dictated the orientation of the house and can be appreciated throughout the interconnected spaces.

It is spectacular on any day, especially with a clear summer sunset. The home’s westerly orientation along Simola’s ridgeline meant bringing in valuable north light would be the next main objective. “North light is critical to any successful coastal architecture,” says Jerome. “Courtyards on both levels of the home and extensive double volumes provide plenty of access to light and allow warmth to penetrate the entire structure.” The large, light-filled spaces seamlessly flow into more functional areas. Jerome explains that it seemed appropriate to link spaces so that one feels connected to the rest of the home – and the view. It was also important to create a sense of intimacy in these areas, resulting in what the client describes as “a gracefully intertwined symphonic masterpiece”.

Facing in a westerly direction and installing expanses of glass to maximise the view creates the need to provide shade from the searing summer sun. This has been achieved through the clever and stylish use of concrete. “I enjoy using concrete framing elements and simple forms,” says Jerome. While these elegant frames seem to float above the Cape fynbos, they provide shelter from the sun, combining modern design with practical functionality. “The modern influence and simple lines are just an extension of my preferences as an architect.”

Starkey Architects South Magazine
Starkey Architects South Magazine

It is the architect’s aesthetic style that first attracted the client. “Jerome’s own architectural persona is patently clear, but he has undoubtedly listened to some of the great works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier in mustering the aesthetic presentation,” he says. “We established a great nexus at the outset, clear communication was never problematic, and his interpretation of ideas and concepts was phenomenal.”

The client plans to visit Knysna and his new home more frequently until it finally becomes his primary residence within the next few years.

He is clearly and justifiably enamoured with the build. “There are too many awesome features to mention all the elements,” he says.