Katz's Cradle

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January 15, 2009
Gregory Katz proves that three times is a charm with his trio of concrete homes, which challenge the status quo in this quiet Johannesburg suburb. Read Full Article
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  Gregory and Caryn Katz are dwarfed beneath the cantilevered concrete overhang, which houses the bedroom on the upper level. The stackable glass doors that run beneath allow the house to open completely to the yard and swimming pool, soften the severity of the concrete, and blur the boundary between indoors and out.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    Gregory and Caryn Katz are dwarfed beneath the cantilevered concrete overhang, which houses the bedroom on the upper level. The stackable glass doors that run beneath allow the house to open completely to the yard and swimming pool, soften the severity of the concrete, and blur the boundary between indoors and out.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  Inspired by an old technique that Le Corbusier experimented with in the 1930s, Gregory has imprinted Lot Four Two Four’s name on the exterior wall at the entrance, using laser-cut Perspex on concrete.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    Inspired by an old technique that Le Corbusier experimented with in the 1930s, Gregory has imprinted Lot Four Two Four’s name on the exterior wall at the entrance, using laser-cut Perspex on concrete.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  The shared service at the back of each unit allows for easy access to the garage and enabled Gregory to maximize unobstructed views at the front of each of the three structures.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    The shared service at the back of each unit allows for easy access to the garage and enabled Gregory to maximize unobstructed views at the front of each of the three structures.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  The freestanding staircase was built three times before Gregory deemed it structurally sound—a tribute to the architect’s tenacity. The high-tech end result was achieved using small custom-made plastic reinforcing fibers. The galley-style kitchen with its bold use of color was Caryn’s choice. She fell in love with the name of a paint swatch called Canary Yellow and then left it to Gregory to fine-tune the exact hue.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    The freestanding staircase was built three times before Gregory deemed it structurally sound—a tribute to the architect’s tenacity. The high-tech end result was achieved using small custom-made plastic reinforcing fibers. The galley-style kitchen with its bold use of color was Caryn’s choice. She fell in love with the name of a paint swatch called Canary Yellow and then left it to Gregory to fine-tune the exact hue.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  Caryn was thrilled to discover that all her personal details look spectacular when offset against the solemnity of concrete. In profile, the freestanding staircase is the most outstanding design accent.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    Caryn was thrilled to discover that all her personal details look spectacular when offset against the solemnity of concrete. In profile, the freestanding staircase is the most outstanding design accent.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  With Gregory and Caryn both working from home, it was crucial that their office (a communal space located off the landing upstairs) accommodate separateness of space and privacy.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    With Gregory and Caryn both working from home, it was crucial that their office (a communal space located off the landing upstairs) accommodate separateness of space and privacy.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  The shower-and-bath-in-one allows for the open feel of the house to translate within the bathroom. Simple concrete slabs function as countertops with inexpensive tiles laid floor to ceiling.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    The shower-and-bath-in-one allows for the open feel of the house to translate within the bathroom. Simple concrete slabs function as countertops with inexpensive tiles laid floor to ceiling.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  Gregory’s love affair with concrete is evinced by his distinct lack of embellishment, particularly on the exterior.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    Gregory’s love affair with concrete is evinced by his distinct lack of embellishment, particularly on the exterior.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  Cognizant of concrete’s excessive greenhouse gas emissions, Gregory built with the future in mind: The modular structure of his home could just as easily accommodate the demands of a nursery, restaurant, or office, as suggested by the various seating and dining arrangements situated throughout the house, particularly in the dining and living area. The space is outfitted with an Eames chair and an unfinished wood shelving unit and dining table. The room opens to the yard and pool, enhancing the room’s circulation to the outdoors.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    Cognizant of concrete’s excessive greenhouse gas emissions, Gregory built with the future in mind: The modular structure of his home could just as easily accommodate the demands of a nursery, restaurant, or office, as suggested by the various seating and dining arrangements situated throughout the house, particularly in the dining and living area. The space is outfitted with an Eames chair and an unfinished wood shelving unit and dining table. The room opens to the yard and pool, enhancing the room’s circulation to the outdoors.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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  The only decorative flourishes are those occuring in the interior, like the gentle arc of  a Castiglioni’s Arco lamp visible through a window.  Photo by: Elsa Young
    The only decorative flourishes are those occuring in the interior, like the gentle arc of a Castiglioni’s Arco lamp visible through a window.

    Photo by: Elsa Young

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