N O   5   S I L O

New Commercial Office Space and Retail Development
V + A Waterfront – Silo Precinct



VDMMA in association with Jacobs Parker Architects

No.5 Silo has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star Design Rating.

During the development of the Precinct idea and planning, the area, (or site), allocated to No 5, become somewhat of a ‘place holder’.


The development of the design idea for No 5 went hand in hand with the intentions commenced at No’s 1 + 2, and thereafter with the development of the ideas for No’s 3 + 4. Including also, the overall Public Realm Precinct design and the Historic Grain Silo.


The brief for the site fluctuated during design development – from Gym space, (now No 4), to Hotel, (now No 6, by others), but also always containing Office and Retail space.


Briefly during design development, No 5 was earmarked for ‘speculative office space’. This called for expansive and open ‘foot prints’ to floors, a rigorously economic structural system, (post tensioned concrete slabs and columns), achieving a maximum number of floors within the Town Planning prescribed height restrictions, (to match the top of the Grain Silo ‘bins’), car entry and exit, and services access from the new Phase 2 parking basements below and South Arm Road. Furthermore, a Precinct Town Planning restriction required a setback to create an open shaft of ‘Urban’ space between No 5 and the future No 6, aligned with the South façade of the Historic Grain Silo Elevator building, stretching from the Grain Silo to South Arm Road. Primary Entry was required from the open shaft of space, as well as a shuttle lift for pedestrians from the basements. (this to avoid Office users from ‘commuting’ between parked motor car in basement  and ‘Office desk above’, without entering the Public Realm).


The recurring design themes of ‘fit for purpose’, ‘workman like’, ‘dockside warehouse’, expressed materiality and in detailing were considerations equally as important as resolving the functional and programmatic requirements of the brief.

Two planning options were developed and tested –

‘the Street option’, being a public circulation route through the building linking with Precinct wide circulation and compartmentalising the Office floor plates into North and South parts. The ‘Street design’ proposal included  materials such as flagstones, cobbles, kerbs, bollard lighting and overhead circulation bridges criss-crossing across a 7 storey high space with natural light and ventilation introduced at roof top level.


‘the Atrium option’, allowed for greater foot plates and a 5 to 6 storey high Atrium facing South towards the City and Table Mountain.


Upon the securing of tenants, the more ‘flexible’ option of the ‘Street’ was chosen and implemented including for multiple tenancies and retail at the base Precinct floor level.

Materials chosen for the building consist of raw concrete block work, unitised glass and tile cladding, sheer glass curtain walling, rough cut timber panelling, exposed steel structural members, steel framing and grillages, cobble and flagstone paving, bold ‘warehouse signage’ and ‘street lighting’. The brief also called for natural ventilation, as far as was deemed feasible. Vast extract fans appear at high level at both street ends and signify the intention of the consciously chosen language of the design proposed.


The green landscaped roof space has been utilised as breakaway space for the Office users.




Developer / Client
V&A Waterfront


Town Planner
V&A Waterfront

Principle Agent


Quantity Surveyor


Architectural Partner

Jacobs Parker

Civil Engineer


Structural Engineer


Electrical Engineer


Mechanical Engineer

Worley Parsons

Wet Services Engineer


Fire Engineer


Facade Engineer


Transport Engineer


Enabling Works / Principal Contractor



Jacobs Parker





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macio@vdmma.com | 083 409 9297

lloyd@vdmma.com | 083 290 7877

rikus@vdmma.com | 083 952 8043

johan@vdmma.com | 083 291 1012

ina@vdmma.com | 082 858 7882


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