Tallest building in Cape Town completes

Friday 05 Sep 2014

Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank join forces to complete 32-storey tower in South Africa

The dhk architects-designed Portside building is now complete in Cape Town and, at 139m in height, has been recognised as the tallest tower in the city. This commercial structure is the new base for Old Mutual and three divisions of FirstRand Bank: First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, and Wesbank.

Developed through a joint venture between these two financial corporations, Portside encompasses an entire city block in the north-west corner of the Cape Town Central Business District. In order to differentiate between the firms, the building offers two separate addresses, one either side of the structure.

Each of the entrances has its own plaza, with FirstRand’s on Buitengracht Street and Old Mutual’s on Bree Street, however the 1,382 parking bays are accessed by a single entrypoint. Anchoring the tower at street level is a series of cafes and restaurants, alongside a branch of First National Bank.

Located in the Central City Urban Conservation Area, Portside is intended to act as a catalyst for the revitalisation of the area, having drawn on the medium- and high-rise buildings in the vicinity in its design. The glass-rich structure sports a sleek façade that can be entirely disassembled for future alterations to the form, with the possibility for it to be recycled and installed elsewhere.

Portside is thought to be the first tall building in South Africa to achieve a 5 Star Green Star SA Office Design rating for its sustainable properties, aided by electric car charging points, cycling facilities including racks and changing rooms, and LED lighting throughout the entire building.

dhk architects states: “The new Portside building embodies the energy of a rapidly evolving world-class city, set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain. As a joint initiative between Old Mutual and FirstRand Bank, this R1.6bn project represents a substantial investment into the Western Cape and has already become a landmark in Cape Town’s central business district.”

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