Three years ago, London-based Heatherwick Studio was assigned the task of repurposing the exterior of historical grain silos and elevator tower at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. The 90-year-old structure was planned to house the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which would be, mainly, occupying the silos, while the upper 6 floors of the elevator tower would be made into a hotel. Now, the work on the hotel is finally finished, and the hotel is ready to open today, on March 1st, 2017, whereas the museum will be opening in September, later this year.
The silos, which have been left unused since 2001, have its exterior redesigned by Heatherwick Studio, who began working on the scheme in 2013. Such that their interior will properly function in a way that serves its new purpose but, at the same time, keep its former industrial character and historical significance. “Rather than strip out the evidence of the building’s industrial heritage, we wanted to find a way to celebrate it,” state the designers on their website. “We could either fight a building made of concrete tubes or enjoy its tube-iness.”
Though within the elevator tower, the hotel design did not divert from the studio’s concept for the project. The hotel’s renovated exterior keeps the fair-faced concrete grid which manifests the original purpose of the structure while featuring pillowed glazing panels that integrate with that grid. The panels are smoothly inflated outwards, so that “by night, this will transform the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbor,” as explained by the studio.
The hotel includes 28 rooms, one of which is a one-bedroom penthouse. Their interiors have been individually designed by Liz Biden. It, also, includes facilities like a spa, a gym, private meeting and dining rooms, in addition to a rooftop restaurant and swimming pool.