150 Buitengracht

Cape Town

OBJEK was approached by the new owners of 150 Buitengracht Street to re imagine and redesign a building more fitting to its context than that of the previously approved design. Working within the prior Heritage Western Cape (HWC) approved design parameters of height and bulk, we felt that one thing from the original design that we could not deviate was to maintain the public’s view of the highly significant curvilinear parapet building in the background.  Without such a visual link, the curvilinear building would be ‘visually landlocked’ by any building design on our client’s site, even while exercising its full zoning rights.

We felt that the historic, curvilinear parapet building needed not just ‘to be seen’ but to be celebrated. As such, we are proposing a transparent, glazed gallery space in front of this house. Our intention is that, along with exhibitions housed there, the historic house could form one of the pieces ‘on display’ in an exhibition.  The gallery space gives the opportunity for the public to not just to see the neighbouring building, but a platform from which to explain its significance.  Simultaneously, it is also  a means of filling the gap in the street edge created by HWC’s need for a visual link. A  link that would otherwise have resulted in a break of continuity of active streetscape.

Additionally, the gallery space can be used as a device to activate the street edge. During an exhibition, and possibly throughout the day, a very direct relationship is maintained between the street and the proposed building. Along with the gallery space, we are proposing a restaurant, also with direct street access. Our intention with both of these elements is to create an active, continuous and engaging street edge.

While there are constraints on how one can incorporate what will be one of the larger buildings in the Bo-Kaap context, we felt that the street boundary of the site was one place where a smaller grain could be incorporated. We have split the street-facing edge of the site into three more or less equal portions and created what appear to be three separate, smaller buildings. These are more in keeping with the general width of the buildings in its immediate and more general context.


Structural Engineers : LH Consulting Engineers

Mechanical and Electrical Engineers : Solution Station

Geotechnical Engineers : Kantey & Templar

Town Planners :  D&S Planning Studio

Heritage Consultant : Peter Buttgens

Quantity Surveyors : MultiQS

Traffic Engineers : Sturgeon Consulting

Project Managers : Atvantage

Interiors : Zeanne + Goss

Gallery Space Historians : Delve Heritage, Research and Content Design

3D Visualisation : Think3D

Project Status : Public Comment / Heritage Approval