Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper commences construction
The Portside project, Cape Town’s first post-apartheid skyscraper, designed by Louis Karol, has commenced construction following planning approval.
Designed for Old Mutual Investment Group Property Investments (OMIGPI), and located on the old Malgas/Porters/Shell site, opposite the V&A Waterfront entrance, the tower will rise to approximately 148 metres in height.
Commanding views on to Table Mountain and Table Bay, Portside will have 24 office floors above a 5-storey hotel and retail component, with parking on five basement levels and eight above ground.
The last tall building to be built in Cape Town’s city centre was OMIGPI’s Safmarine House in 1993 – rising to 123 metres and designed also by Louis Karol. Cape Town’s 15 year skyscraper hiatus can be ascribed to a number of factors, including low economic confidence, 9/11 and conservative planning policy.
Robert Silke of Louis Karol, said: “We were in negotiations with the City of Cape Town for 18 months and have been grateful for the high levels of co-operation and participation by the city officials in fine tuning the scheme, and who ultimately made positive recommendations to the city councillors.
“Until Portside was given consent, it was felt in many quarters that tall buildings were impossible to achieve under the present planning system but events have proven that appropriate, well-designed tall buildings still have a place in our city,” added Silke.
OMIGPI’s executive for Property Development, Brent Wiltshire says the Portside development aims to achieve a four-star rating according to the Green Building Council of South Africa’s Green Star rating system.
“Tall buildings play an important role in green architecture and their role is three-fold – to promote sustainability, reduce energy use and develop innovative technologies,” says Wiltshire.
As part of the focus on safety, lifts can be stopped every third floor to access an emergency exit from within the lift – that is without exiting through the lift doors. Lift studies are being conducted to determine a benchmark for lift waiting times.
Completion of this development is scheduled for April 2011.