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B P   H E A D Q U A R T E R S 

V & A Waterfront - Cape Town
2003

 

A building for BP and the V&A in the Waterfront – what should the primary guiding principles be?

Contextually the site is complex and evocative. A new building needs to respect the grain, texture and scale of the existing context, be respectful of the historical, whilst at the same time reflect our own time, our own cultural baggage, and even look towards the future. It needs to grow out of all these aspects, and not satisfy one more than the other.

The building should be a building, which responds to its location as a waterfront building, being developed by the V&A Waterfront company as a further addition to its stable. The building must respond to a site with beautiful views, a relaxed waterfront atmosphere, a sense of lightness of place. It should therefore be a light, open, fresh building with an elegance of materials which are both tactile, beautiful, easy to maintain and will not date prematurely.

At the same time BP, a global leader, is planned to be the primary leaseholder of this building for many years to come. It is an outstanding company in the process of restructuring, adopting a powerful new position “Beyond Petroleum” the core basic values being:

GREEN
INNOVATION
PERFORMANCE
PROGRESSIVE

In the competition brief, BP describes its identity as a company using, amongst others, the following phrases. A company:

..delivering breakthrough solutions…
..using creative know-how to tackle challenges in non-traditional ways….
..developing and applying cutting edge technologies…
..discovering new ways of doing things…
..being accessible and open..
and that furthermore
..the new office environment must be inspiring and create excitement….

This building needs to be a unique, groundbreaking building as these values need to be incorporated and displayed. This building must respond to this challenge – both in its technical resolution as well as its aesthetic image.

In summary then, it is our contention that this new building precinct needs to be:

CONTEXTUALLY RESPONSIVE AND RESPONSIBLE
DEMONSTRABLY ENERGY SENSITIVE
AESTHETICALLY INTERESTING AND ELEGANT
AS WELL AS INSPIRING, EXCITING AND CREATIVE.

In association with Dennis Fabian Berman Architects.

 

 

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