BUILDING AN URBAN PRECINCT: 9 YEARS OF VDMMA WORK | V&A SILO PRECINCT


View of Silo's 3 and 4 (Image by Kate McLuckie) with Location Map (above) 1. No1 Silo 2. No2 Silo 3. No3 Silo 4. No4 Silo 5. No5 Silo 6. No6 Silo 7. Grain Silo 8. South Arm Road 9. Silo Square 10. Silo Circus 11. BOE Building

12. Clock Tower Mall 13. East Quay

The design intent for the SILO PRECINCT design is two fold – To secure by design the ‘space’ about, and encircling the base, of the 1920’s Historic Grain Silo building. To obviate the ‘condition’ we refer to as SLOAP – ‘Space Left Over After Planning’

The development of the Precinct idea rests with the premise originally established for the ‘siting’ of SILO No 1, which in turn became the catalyst for the Precinct.

The IDEA (above left) Silo Precinct Model (above right)

The Grain Silo Precinct in 2010 (above left) The Silo Precinct under construction (above right)

The idea sought to create a multiplicity of Urban space types. This was reinforced by fragmenting the buildings which enclose the space in order to avoid monolithic and only one dimensional interfaces between the buildings and the Public Realm open space. This intent was overlaid with extensive wind analysis, sun projection studies, anticipated uses and circulation patterns.

Historic Grain Silo reflected in Silo No1 facade (above)

Pedestrian access and movement has been prioritised over all other forms of movement. Open space uses vary from circulation to sedentary chilling and ‘pavement café’. (And a variety of combinations thereof). The choice of materials and development of detail followed suit – including spaces for exhibition, green park landscaping for repose, paving for sidewalk cafés, fixed and flexible seating and bus and taxi waiting areas. Light fittings, waste re cycling bins, signage, street edges, planters, bollards for traffic control and seating are ‘elements’, which serve the uses of the Public Realm spaces. The ideas are further underpinned by the Precinct wide finishes chosen to be ‘workman like’, utilitarian and ‘fit for purpose’, within the overall ethos of a multi-functional and working Harbour. The design for high level lighting was prompted by the light fittings installed in the adjacent Syncro Lift, used for Shipping repairs and maintenance.

Silo No 2 & 3 Residential Apartments in a

working harbour setting (above)

The view was taken that the fragmentation of the surrounding buildings would allow for variety, eschew monotony and it is hoped, allow for the un expected within the Public Realm. However, the intent allows also and simultaneously for a neutral backdrop, against which any type of event may occur. Space use anticipates temporary and fixed exhibitions, commuters going to and from work, Office workers breaking for lunch, meeting or avoiding colleagues, apartment dwellers shopping for groceries. Café dwellers.

View of Track Shed, No.3, 4 and 5 (above left) No.1 Silo, Zeitz MOCAA, No.3, 4 and 5. Image by Iwan Baan (above right)

The entire Precinct covers a multi storey parking basement for 2600 cars. Access from the basement to the individual buildings on top is purposely routed via shuttle lifts, which require arriving users to firstly enter the Public Realm, prior to disappearing behind the closed doors of their destinations.

A view of the Zeitz MOCAA - Central to the Precinct. Image by Iwan Baan (above)

The conversion of the Historic Grain Silo’s – ZEITZ MOCAA Gallery - design by Thomas Heatherwick Studio, Executive implementation lead by VDMMA (with JP and RBA).

Precincts are built by teams - an early inspection of

the Silo Precinct (above) Full list of professionals below

Silo Precinct Masterplan : VDMMA (Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects)

Silo No 1 (Allan Gray) : VDMMA + RBA (Rick Brown and Associates)

Silo Phase 2 (Basement parking for entire precinct) : VDMMA + RBA

Silo No 2 (Residential) : VDMMA + RBA

Silo No 3 (Residential) : VDMMA + MDL (Makeka Design Lab)

Silo No 4 (Gym and retail) : VDMMA + MDL

Silo No 5 (Commercial Office space, retail) : VDMMA + JPA (Jacobs Parker Architects)

Silo No 6 (Hotel) : Peerutin and DSA (Design Space Africa)

Silo Public Realm (Hard and soft landscaping etc) : VDMMA + MDL

Grain Silo – ‘Zeitz Mocaa Museum’ – Design Architect : Thomas Heatherwick Studio London

Architects of Record : VDMMA, RBA, JPA

Grain Silo Hotel fit out : RBA

Grain Silo Level 6 Event space : VDMMA

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