Looking Back: Bomax Architects’ Sustainable Urban Treehouse in Newlands

Looking back: A contemporary home ahead of its time. Completed in 2018, this home in Upper Fernwood Estate, Newlands, is an exercise in green peace, taking the concept of an urban treehouse to the max.

The Vision for the Sustainable Urban Treehouse

The clients, Izak and Heidi Joubert, approached Bomax with a dream of a compact yet spacious home that required minimal maintenance. The unique vision of the Jouberts is the perfect backdrop for the exciting tension between contemporary design and the natural reserve of Table Mountain in Upper Fernwood Estate, Cape Town.

The first level of the home has a garage and full staff quarters, while the ground level has the living area and guest bedroom. The upper level has the main and second bedrooms, both en suite, along with a third bedroom used as a child’s play area and study. The home maintains a continuous line of sight, offering beautiful views of the surrounding natural landscapes from any point in the home while maintaining privacy. The floor-to-ceiling glass windows invite the lush green surroundings indoors. This creates a sense of continuity between the interiors and the peaceful surrounds.

Design Elements for Sustainability

The Urban Treehouse is a home built in harmony with the environment, both in form and function. The design incorporates passive elements that prevent the house from consuming too much energy. The use of Morsø fireplaces, which burn slowly and reduce fuel consumption, and sustainable oak timber and off-shutter concrete, which absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, add to the environmentally friendly design.

Dion Max Walters, Bomax’s founder, notes, “Although we wanted to stick to the concept of a treehouse, we also wanted to bring in a hard-edged contemporary feel.” The use of concrete achieves this while maintaining the environmental harmony.

Bomax also conducted solar studies to balance the amount of direct sunlight entering the house. We’ve done so in consideration of the location’s low sunlight levels.

Outdoor Living

The partly covered outside patio and pool deck flow seamlessly from the open plan living area, maximizing natural ventilation and providing an escape from Cape Town’s scorching summers. Our clients’ favorite node is this outdoor area.

With robust greenery and a nature reserve on their doorstep, makes living in a treehouse intrinsically cool.


We collaborated with Sutherland Engineers and JLK Construction on this project. Our vendors for this project include Bestwood Flooring, Inside Living, Italtile Cape Town, Lavender & Thyme Landscaping, Province Lighting Automation & Switching, and Womag (World of Marble & Granite.

Originally published in Property Magazine.

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