‘Complex and challenging development’
THE EXTENSION to the Cape Quarter is setting the trend in environmentally considerate lifestyle shopping developments.
The second phase of the Cape Quarter lifestyle centre, The Square, which is in Cape Town’s historic De Waterkant, bordered by Somerset Road, Dixon, Jarvis and Napier streets, is complete and open for trading, after a challenging construction process that took 28 months to complete.
The Square is an open-air piazza with a quaint village square atmosphere and layout of stores that complement the lifestyle shopping experience. It is a marriage of old and new architecture, recycling materials from yesteryear and introducing the best of contemporary design.
The centre is a mix of retail, office, lifestyle and self-catering apartments on 10 levels, in keeping with the trend towards mixed use developments.
Kevin Dore is a director of R&N Master Builders, the firm involved in the redevelopment of the original Cape Quarter and the extension for property developers Propfin. He says the new phase consists of approximately 800 parking bays, 8 800m of A-grade office space and 9 700m2 of retail space with an array of finishes that demanded the highest levels of craftsmanship.
“The development of the Cape Quarter extension was complex and challenging. The project required the marrying of 15 different building types with varying styles into one functional centre, while preserving the original elements of the historical structures.
“R+N integrated the different skills required for fast-track cons t r u c t i o n w i t h t h e s e n s i t iv i t y needed for preserving, restoring and integrating the historical buildings. A total of 20 000m of concrete and 1 900 tons of reinforcing steel were used during the renovation and construction of the Cape Quarter extension. We also had to remove 48 000m of excavated material.
“The final product contains an exciting architectural mix of modern, Cape Malay, colonial and art deco styles that are beautifully meshed with high-quality modern finishes and recycled materials from the original buildings that recall the quality of yesteryear.
“ We r e c y c l e d f i v e p i g i r o n columns that were recovered from inside the Somerset Road brick columns during the demolition phase, and have used them in the Piazza as structural elements that form an interesting design feature.
The cantilevered bridge at the entrance on Somerset Road is made from recycled steel and wood and there is a beautiful yellowwood staircase found in the extension which links the old and new structures,” says Dore.
“An additional challenge faced with remarkable results was retaining the original roof inside the old Capella building. This was achieved by placing precast slabs on a complex girder support structure which spanned over this building, creating the platform for the new level above.”
Dore says elements of the original buildings, such as the facades on Somerset Road, have carefully been preserved and incorporated into the development. The preservation of existing features as well as the recycling of the original old materials required specialist artisans such as bl a c k s mit h s, p l a s t e r moul d e r s, mo s a i c i s t s a n d c a r p e n t e r s f o r reworking the recycled timber.
The outstanding quality of the c o n s t r u c t i o n wo r k i s e v i d e n t throughout the centre, from the Cape Quarter Spar gourmet food store with its granite floors, to the boutique retail outlets and restaurants with remarkable attention to detail in the trimmings, to the spectacular suspension bridge and 16m high entrance area.
“The Cape Quarter will benefit greatly from the increased pedestrian traffic that Green Point Stadium will bring to the area during the 2010 World Cup. But regardless of this, I still believe this will become one of the most successful and desirable retail, commercial and lifestyle destination centres in Cape Town,” says Dore.
DESIRABLE DESTINATION: The Square at the Cape Quarter Extension is an open-air piazza with a quaint village square atmosphere.