Architect and Builder Magazine South Africa Dec 2017 / Jan 2018 - Page 21

irreplacable and differentiates the V& A from other Waterfront developments around the world. Juxtaposing world class retail, commercial and hospitality against the background of a working harbour provides a wonderful mix of characters and character. The Silo District would be developed in the heart of the working harbour, with I&J Fisheries on the one side and the Syncro-Lift, used to remove boats from the water for repairs, on the other. Following on from the great success of No 2 Silo, the team conceptualised the vision for the existing Grain Silo building as a new cultural space for the City and firmed up the footprint, massing and design of what is now Silos 3, 4, 5 and 6. No 3 Silo is residential and creates the edge of the Silo Square overlooking the harbour. No 4 Silo, accommodating a Virgin Classic gym provides horizontal massing and mixed use integration and allowed No 3 Silo to be raised sufficiently in height to take advantage of the view over the warehouses to the harbour. The designs of Silos 3 to 6 are not outrageous and domineering, but rather pared down and refined, aiming to create the public spaces for people to live, train and work. Fundamental to the planning and design process of the Silo District has been the aim to understand the notion of sustainability. Sustainibility is more multi-layered than purely environmental considerations and takes other resources such as people, materials and money into consideration. The mix of buildings was created to ‘serve’ people first; creating a great environment with conditions that make it conducive for people to want to spend time in the buildings themselves as well as the surrounding public realm space. Silo District Overview Site The site was incredibly challenging. Primarily there is a complexity to building in the middle of an operational harbour, but also due to the fact that the site is reclaimed land. The super basement of 2,700 parking bays that anchors the Silo District sits 1.5m below sea level. At spring tide this increases to nearly 2.5m. Creating a perimeter sheet pile wall around the basement prior to commencing any work was complex. Excavating below the original shoreline level, the contractors found all sorts of interesting archealogical artefacts, including 19th century armaments, that even entailed a visit from the bomb squad! Team Effort One of the V&A’s approaches to construction is to unlock great buildings and to do that you assemble a great team that feels they are working cohesively to deliver something fantastic. The aim was also to try and involve a number of different companies, spreading the work, whilst at the same time limiting the number of interfaces that could lead to greater risk on the project. As a result a core team worked on all the individual developments, with other firms coming on board to complement and extend the knowledge and skills base. A joint site office created daily opportunities for the various team to work together, unlocking more efficiency and potential, creating an environment most conducive to creating a successful project. Now completed, the Silo District is functioning as a bustling part of the V&A, with its mix of office workers, residents and visitors ensuring that the area embodies the original vision of sustainability. 21