The V&A Waterfront’s Silo District is nearing completion with five of the six buildings in the precinct now complete.
Planned and designed around the historic 1920s Grain Silo, soon to be the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the intention was to create multiple urban spaces in a public realm for commuters going to and from work, office workers breaking for lunch, people shopping, as well as for temporary and fixed exhibitions. All the buildings open up onto a pedestrian realm that encircles the precinct, while three of the six comprising retail and food outlets are on the ground level.

With No.’s 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Silo all having been designed by Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects (VDMMA), the simultaneous consideration of the various buildings allowed for the desired variety and connectedness.

No. 3 and 4 Silo: Apartment building, health club and retail
Designed in association with Makeka Design Lab
No. 3 Silo consists of a mix of 79 units, ranging from one-bed apartments to a five-bed penthouse, with retail on the ground level, while No. 4 Silo is occupied by the new luxury Virgin Active Collection health club.

A striking feature on the apartment building is the expressed steel structures around the lift shafts, stair structure and in the cantilevered corners of the building. These were painted in red and orangey-yellow colours inspired by the structures of ships in the harbour.

Bay windows project outwards, allowing ample light into the apartments and also creating a nook where occupants can relax with a book or just enjoy the view.

Selected for its longevity and industrial look that sits well with the industrial aesthetic of a waterfront building, Rheinzink zinc alloy was used to clad these bay windows as well as the south and east exterior walls of the building.

Rheinzink zinc alloy was used to clad the south and east exterior walls of No.3 Silo, while an orangey-yellow expressed steel structure in the cantilever corners of the building supports the balconies. The colour was inspired by the shipping structures in the harbour. Courtesy of VDMMA

No 5 Silo: Commercial offices and retail
Designed in association with Jacobs Parker Architects
To deal with the solar radiation on the eastern and western facades of No 5 Silo, a unitised facade with glazing and tile panels was used. This solution provided suitable window space for views and to let in natural light, but also cuts down on the solar gain from the east and the west with a ratio of approximately 50:50 solid to glazed.

At the ends of the building, large sections of Rheinzink were installed. These were set back from the unitised façade system so to form a plane that runs through the building. In addition to its aesthetic function, the Rheinzink panels also enhance the different components of the building.

Inside, an internal pedestrian street runs through the building and links up with the precinct’s public circulation route. This unusual feature gives the general public access to the building and protects against wind and rain, as well as creating an interior atrium for the offices above.

The district sea water cooling system means the building uses very little energy for air-conditioning. The street is naturally ventilated with the roof allowing light in from the south with a north-facing slope ideal for solar panels. In fact, No. 5 Silo has been awarded a six-star Green Star Design Rating.

Tel: 021 671 2600

Tel: 021 423 5829

Caption Main Image: The exterior of No 5 Silo is a combination of a unitised facade with glazing and tile panels, sections of Rheinzink and large panels of glass facing north and south.
Courtesy of VDMMA