We Want Nothing More Than This Slice of Heaven in the Seychelles

ADD.Locus's dream house will haunt you, too.

ADD.Locus's dream house will haunt you, too.

The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.

Out in the big pool of the Indian Ocean, there’s a bit of a collision going on.

As the tradition of 1-percenter resorts and residences in the Seychelles continues, the beloved Creole architecture of the islands is at risk. With its winking, high-peaked roofs and second-floor rooms that open wide to the cooling winds, it’s worthy of acknowledgement, preservation, and care.

That’s not to say every new development is unwelcome here—or that each one has to fall squarely into the mold of Creole design. This multilevel, multi-terraced family residence climbing up a hill, overlooking the sea is a perfect example of how to capture the spirit of what the traditional form achieves, without veering into pastiche or parody.

Created by the internationally recognizedSeychelles-based ADD.Locus Architects for a client with a U.S. career and a local background, the generous home hints at Creole’s peaked roofs without actually simulating them. Rooms with long floorboards flow from one to another and open wide to the outside in a nod to the nation’s past, while modern materials and a site plan that integrates into the surrounding environment represent more contemporary approaches.Alex Ellenberger, ADD.Locus founder, managing director, and principal architect, explains how they pulled it off.

No, this home isn’t going to relieve the tension between old and new in the Seychelles, but at least a kind of resolution rests within its walls. Architects is a member of The List, the destination for all things Surface-approved. Want to join The List? Contact our team to find out how to apply.


Project Description: A holiday home for a professor of robotics at a leading U.S. university who has Seychelles roots.

Inspiration: The driving force of the project was the aim to create an environment that embraces the notion of tropical living. To this end, the architecture focuses on gradations of the interface between exteriority and interiority; an interdependent environment where daily and seasonal changes mediate the external/interior and internal/exterior boundaries.

Blueprint: Built on a steep hillside, the spaces are planned around a sequence of inner courtyard/gardens on three levels; a stepping-stone pond and a sky-shaft garden at the entrance level; a family room, bedrooms, vertical gardens, and planter courtyard at mid-level; and a living room, kitchen/dining, green-roof terrace, swimming pool and gardens on the  the top level. The rooms also enjoy a variety of outlooks towards the Indian Ocean horizon to the front, garden and hillside woodlands to the sides, and mountains to the rear.

Materials: The structure itself is R.C. frame, while a mix of rocks, block work, steel, glass, textile, timber, and plantings, and earth, stone, tiles, timber, grass, and water provide our floorings.

Challenges: The real goal here was to arrange and link the sequences of internal and external spaces on three levels on what turned out to be a pretty steep site.

Uniqueness: The house celebrates its settings and enhances the local way of living in an inspiring way.

Takeaway: The [verbatim] quote, “This is how I imagined a Seychelles house to be!” was emotionally muttered by a filmmaker friend who is not typically a fan of the modern architecture, but a strong advocate of the vernacular.



(Photos: Courtesy Nikki Gower)

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