Like its American predecessors, the
De Wits’ pavilion is also a lifestyle experiment – a quest to
discover how much of life’s ordinary clutter you can leave out.
“The main house has all the essential facilities,” says Lee, so he
reasoned that the experiment could become quite extreme.
Interior walls are all but nonexistent. Lee designed a bed unit
and a kitchen island and shelf, but there is almost no other
furniture, not even an oven. (There’s a dedicated barbecue
area outside.) Even the notion of a bathroom was discarded.
While the toilet is secreted away under the stairs, the bath is
sunk into the floor, dividing the bedroom and living areas, and
the shower is outside. Lee finds that the simplicity you attain in
crossing the “point at which you leave convenience behind”
is exhilarating, and he believes that it facilitates the kind of
reflection the pavilion was intended to stimulate.
A number of artworks in the pavilion extend the dialogue
between architecture and landscape. A painting by the
early-20th-century South African landscape painter Jacob
Hendrik Pierneef draws in the purples and blues of the
distant mountains. It is set on a wall decorated with a mural
by Wesley’s wife, German artist Tatjana Doll, painted using
pigments from the surrounding landscape. She also painted
the graphic circular mural that defines the living area,
dyed the bedroom curtain with algae from a nearby pond
and painted the interior of the fire house with local mud
(she drip-painted the exterior with colorful enamel paint).
These artistic interventions, says Lee De Wit, have allowed
the glass pavilion to evolve and adapt as clues from this
ancient African landscape continue to reveal themselves