Cluster houses in Zimbabwe

Halcyon days cluster housing hyperlapse by Pantic Architects youtube play button
Cluster housing development seen from air by local architect
Modern housing development seen from air by drone by local architect
Spiral cluster housing development around central hill by architect Pantic Architects
Rotating cluster design around hill covered in vegetation in the middle of circular residerntial development in Harare
Spiraling duplex homes complex around stone hill. Design by architect Pantic Architects
Lush vegetation in the middle of circular cluster homes in Harare
Alternating wall colours in residential complex in Arlington Harare by local architectural practice
Rotated cluster houses around greenery in the middle of cluster housing development in Harare
Interior of modern house by local interior designer in Harare
Modern interior design of living room of double story home by interior designer in Zimbabwe
Halcyon days cluster housing hyperlapse by Zimbabwe Design Architect youtube play button
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
Type: Residential, cluster housing
Area: 5500m2
Completion: 2021

Cluster housing design

In the heart of Arlington Estate, by Harare International Airport is a large residential plot originally intended for nearly 40 double story units. The inherited design envisaged tightly attached cluster houses with a miserable 2-meter back garden facing the boundary wall and the living room on the opposite side facing parked cars. The original residential complex design also completely ignored the amazing gomo and vegetation in the middle of the plot and planned for its expensive removal.

We turned the priorities upside-down and argued that the most important aspects of the residential design are the massive boulders and trees and that all houses should have a view of them. Our design priority was to give all living rooms and bedrooms a view of the stunning central area with the natural feature. Additionally, this green oasis would be expanded into a flat field around the hill providing a place for children to play, adults to recreate and rest while creating social interactions between the generations. The secondary problem was the need to bring the cars in front of each house dictating the passage of roads through the whole complex and ruining any potential views and reducing the greenery present to a minimum. We opted to abolish all the roads and have the occupants park at two parking areas next to the entrance gates. Thus the green areas could be valorised and the central hill area would become a true paradise for all to enjoy.

Individual views and privacy

To grant all homes a view of the central area, the repeating units were rotated around the central gomo in a spiral form. Using a more ergonomic form that would also adapt better to the rotation and minimise building costs, the homesadopted a trapezoidal form, narrower towards the centre of the property and wider at the back. The houses were also moved forward or backwards in respect to each other to provide a level of privacy from the neighbours. The first floor rooms are also cantilevered above the verandas providing added shelter from the rain and sun. Therefore the sitting area on the veranda becomes a covered extension of the living rooms, effectively extending the liveable space outside and bring nature inside.

Open plan living areas

The individual units all have the main living area facing the private yards and central area, while the sleeping area is located upstairs, separating day and night areas and allowing more parallel events. An open plan configuration was designed making the each house feel bigger and more modern. Access to all the units is on the kitchen side, giving privacy to the occupants in the living areas from passing pedestrians.

Architectural design

The resulting housing complex has a cohesive form centralised around the magnificent natural feature in a modern organic form. The central area will house large lawns for all manners of social interaction between the various occupants thus complementing the aesthetic and functional values in the cluster development.

Spiral cluster housing development around central hill by architect Pantic Architects