The famous Bruynzeel House
A Landmark in Stellenbosch

Beauty is the promise of happiness.
Stendhal

Bruynzeel House

The Bruynzeel House, De Hoge Hoek, is a Landmark in Stellenbosch
18 Constantia Avenue    Architect: Aart Bijl
It was built by the wood merchant and yachts man, Kees Bruynzeel, in 1962.
The roof of the house has the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid,
built with teak rafters and lined with yellow wood.

A joint golden jubilee: we celebrated 50 years of 'De Hoge Hoek' and 50 years Stellenbosch Museum on 27 October 2012 at 18 Constantia Avenue in Stellenbosch.
The first visitors arrive
See all photos
The most beautiful house
Article in Eikestadnuus
15 August 2013
Francois Verster in Die Bolander:
Huis Bruynzeel is 50 jaar oud, en mooier as ooit
Bruynzeel House
Bruynzeel House
Bryunzeel's STORMVOGEL won the Los Angeles-Hawaii Transpac Race 1967, winner overall
Bryunzeel's STORMVOGEL won the Los Angeles-Hawaii Transpac Race 1967, winner overall
Oil painting by Peter Stut, 1961
Yellow-wood ceiling
Yellow-wood ceiling


A Landmark in Stellenbosch

Beauty and technical art combined

50 years ago the Dutch wood merchant, Kees Bruynzeel, wanted to show what you can do with wood. He commissioned a brilliant young architect, Aart Bijl, to design his home.
Aart Bijl was a student of the well known architect Pius Pahl and both were influenced by the Bauhaus tradition. But where the typical Bauhaus building has a flat roof, Aart Bijl used a technical wonder: a roof in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid (saddle shape).
The roof, constructed with teak rafters, was raised first fixed on just two pillars. The community of Stellenbosch was fascinated and watched the building activity closely, especially when shortly after the roof stood a raging storm was devastating the area for days. But the roof stood firm.
Then the rest of the house was built with flat face-brick, specially made for this house, teak panels and enormous glass windows set in teak frames. The walls were fitted into the roof in a way that left free movement for the roof.
When this super modern building was completed it met with a similar reaction Paris greeted the building of the Eiffel tower in 1889: outrage in the conservative population, sheer delight from architects and engineers.
Today, Stellenbosch is proud of the famous Bruynzeel House and architects from many countries have come to admire it.
The materials used for the construction of this building are of unsurpassed quality:
Teak, yellow wood, copper, glass and a slim face brick that was commissioned and specially made for this house.
The quality of workmanship is equally stunning. The face brick walls were built with a slight slope of 3 degrees, which is a costly procedure but so much more elegant. The bedrooms have moulded plaster ceilings.

In 1981 a German family bought the house, utterly overwhelmed with the beauty of the building and its setting on the north facing slope of Stellenboschberg. The house changed hands again in 2014.

New photos

More information:
The house was built 1961/62 for Mr. & Mrs C. Bruynzeel by BIJL GREEN & TODESCHINI ARCHITECTS
67, Strand Street, Cape Town, in Association with Munnik Visser & Black
Aart Bijl   About the background to the Bruynzeel House project
Links:
Cornelis ("Kees") Bruynzeel (February 19, 1900, Rotterdam - 1980) was a Dutch businessman, timber merchant and yachtsman.
Pius Pahl

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