10 Union

Gardens, Cape Town


The site for this proposed residential apartment building is located in a significant Heritage Protection Zone in the heart of Cape Town.  The street is a mix of 19th Century Victorian houses and 1920s Art Deco apartment blocks, many of which are listed as protected buildings.  It is interspersed with 1980s apartment buildings which are considered inappropriate to the surrounding architectural environment.  The formation of the Heritage Protection Zone by the City of Cape Town, has meant that there are tighter mechanisms in place controlling development within this zone to make sure that the architectural character of new buildings is sensitive to the areas’ existing architectural environment.

The challenge was to design a 7-storey building within the context of the smaller historic buildings immediately surrounding it, as well as to respond with urban and pedestrian sensitivity at ground level.  To achieve this, we broke up the building into a series of ‘houses’ with direct access from the street.  Our approach was to look at, and reinterpret, a contemporary architectural expression of the typical New York style ‘Brownstone’ house – a building type that we feel positively contributes to the street in a way that was appropriate in this urban context.  In this project, a series of ‘Brownstone’ houses are then used as a base or plinth, on which the taller portion of the building sits.  The higher portion is then set back from the street edge so as not to dominate it.

Objek was appointed only for the concept design of 10 Union.