If you've got a UFO obsession & R50k for rent, we've got a Jozi house for you

Joburg's famous 'UFO' house is up for rent, but only serious bidders need apply

15 February 2019 - 09:32 By Alex Patrick
For R50,000 you could live in the UFO House on the top of the hill.
For R50,000 you could live in the UFO House on the top of the hill.
Image: Masi Losi

For a mere R50,000 a month you could live like an alien – or at least live in a house shaped like a UFO.

The iconic “UFO” house in Roodepoort, Johannesburg, is up for rent and the owners are looking for serious bidders. 

If this sounds alien to you, a drive to Johannesburg’s West Rand is all you need to get a glimpse of the disc-shaped building on the side of the Kloofendal koppie.

The 650m² home was completed in 1993 by engineer Harry Visser who lived there with his wife, Ria. The house was first put on the market in 1994 for R3m and again in 1998 for R4.5m, but they were not ready to sell it.

The red metal structure on the right is used to wash the windows as it moves around around the house.
The red metal structure on the right is used to wash the windows as it moves around around the house.
Image: Masi Losi

The house was back on the market in 2007 for R14m but was not sold. It was eventually sold in 2018 at a bank auction.

New co-owner Sadiek Haynes, who bought the home as part of a business trust with three associates, would not reveal how much they paid for it, “but it was a steal”.

Pressed further, he said the price was nowhere near the R14m original asking price.

“I just had to have it. I’ve been interested in this house since I was a child and I never thought that I would own it.

“We actually never thought we would buy the house but it was just too good an offer to pass up. So now our portfolio includes a house.

Besides the two-door garage there is space for seven cars under the house and parking for visitors in front. The base comprises 50 tons of reinforced steel.
Besides the two-door garage there is space for seven cars under the house and parking for visitors in front. The base comprises 50 tons of reinforced steel.
Image: Masi Losi

“We definitely don’t want to sell it. We are hoping to rent it to a family or to a business. It would be perfect for a business because it can be seen from far ... imagine a big logo on the side.

“The outside speaks a different language to the inside. The interiors are so dated and we actually haven’t changed it, other than fitting a brand-new kitchen, because we want to work with whoever rents it to change the interiors to their taste,” Haynes said.

Tanja Abraham, realtor for Etchells & Young Property Brokers, the agency letting out the property, said the unique design of the house required any remodelling to be done in an almost scientific way.

“The house is suspended [by reinforced steel slanting 60 degrees upwards] so every tile, every carpet, anything which will add weight to the structure, needs to be weighed before it is brought into the house,” she said.

New owner Sadiek Haynes looks out over the north of Johannesburg from the office window.
New owner Sadiek Haynes looks out over the north of Johannesburg from the office window.
Image: Masi Losi

So what does the UFO house look like?

From its spot on the hill the house stands in stark contrast to the indigenous fauna and flora cultivated by Visser.

The whole design is set on a spiral, from the drive up the hill into the undercover garage, which can house up to seven cars (there is space for 15 cars altogether).

This home is not for cricket or croquet players since the only usable exterior is a rather large brick braai area. In keeping with the natural textures of the land there is no lawn in sight.

The main entrance is through a big glass door which faces an indoor water feature and conceals the interior from prying eyes outside.

The atrium is fitted with sprinklers and is also fed with rainwater. The home is climate-controlled so it doesn't mist up in the heat.
The atrium is fitted with sprinklers and is also fed with rainwater. The home is climate-controlled so it doesn't mist up in the heat.
Image: Masi Losi

Entering through the garage provides a glimpse of the wine cellar and leads straight into the centre of the dome and the light of the atrium.

In fact, the most noticeable feature inside is the light. It pours into the atrium through the tall central dome, while the 360º views offered by 76 windows give the sense of being in the open. The 10m² atrium is an indoor garden.

“When it rains water from the roof is actually channelled into the inside garden,” Abraham said, pointing to four inlet pipes in the ceiling.

The kitchen has just been renovated.
The kitchen has just been renovated.
Image: Masi Losi

The home has four bedrooms, each en suite, a large dining area, a lounge and kitchen as well as a balcony. And there is a bar area with a spa bath overlooking the north side of the city and looking down onto Sandton.

The UFO house became famous in the 1990s and was featured on Top Billing and in adverts for LG appliances.

It was labelled “Africa’s most extreme home” in 2002 by US TV channel HGTV. 

“The vibe kinda died after that and interest in the futuristic home has worn off. But we still get lots of drive-bys, especially during December,” the new home owner said.


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