‘Com­plex and chal­leng­ing de­vel­op­ment’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.

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