Senator Park Extension, Cape Town, South Africa



Reviving an old Inner City building


  • Location: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Status: Phase One Complete

A crucial aspect of creating a sustainable world is to recycle and upgrade existing buildings. Located in the heart of the city Senator Park was a tired and neglected building with declining rental income which had become structurally unsound and played host to anti-social elements in the life of the city. Faced with possible demolition the client approached Collis & Associates for an assessment and for proposals.

We undertook extensive analysis of the structural condition and opportunities for development within the constraints of the City’s zoning laws.

Phase One included the structural repairs and refurbishment of the existing structure. This has made the building appealing again and provided a desirable asset that stabilises the rental income.

Phase Two involves the addition of two floors to the approximate 1200 m2 roof. The area is divided into 13 double story middle to up-market loft units varying in size from 108 m2 to 211 m2. The maximum height of the development is proposed to be at 30m. This is approximately 5m above the current and allowed building height of 25m. Each unit, with its internal stair, can be used for either commercial (consulting studios/lofts) or for residential purposes. This feasibility study considered the more costly construction option; residential. The units are accessed via a dedicated lift (existing to be upgraded) from ground floor to the new 8th floor apart from one unit which is accessed from floor level nine via an extension to the existing stair.

 As opposed to the current internal passage system, the passage on the new level eight has been shifted to the inner court. This allows for the larger units to face outwards taking advantage of the mostly uninterrupted views of Devils Peak, Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal Hill. It also allows for balanced light, meaning natural illumination from openings in two opposing facades of each unit. Thus there are no isolated south facing or inward facing units.

The units are to be of lightweight construction, fully sound and heat insulated both from each other and externally. Full advantage will be taken of the large roof area to catch rain and to generate electricity. The overall concept is one of sustainability (including the upgrade of the balance of the building) and the units will be designed to minimize the use of power and water through appropriate and state of the art design and choice of fittings. The materials specification will incorporate best practice regarding environmentally friendly and low-carbon materials as well as a full life cycle analysis.  

Team: Collis/ Curtis/ Walton/ Irvine