The skyscraper phenomenon has hit the world by storm, with supertall after supertall rising in the likes of Dubai. Other cities are desperately trying to catch up and build ever higher.
As of 2011, over 602 buildings exceeding the 200 metre mark were in existence across the planet. After the skyscraper boom of the 1970′s, however, South Africa largely lagged behind in the development of new towers. Only one building exceeding the 200 metre mark exists in the entire country – the Carlton Centre. On the African continent as a whole, the tally currents sits at a measly two – including the Carlton Centre.
That is due to change, however, as a number of developers have ambitious plans in the pipeline. We have thus collated a list of our top five tall planned new buildings for South Africa.
In fifth position on our top five, we have Kgoro Central. This new mixed-use precinct will consist of retail space, mid-rise offices, a public square fitted with an amphitheatre, as well as twin office towers. The towers – which will rise to a height of 30 floors each – were designed to act as a gateway into Sandton due to their prominent location above the Sandton Gautrain station. The developers hope to inspire those living and working in Sandton. They cite the architects as having drawn their own inspiration from the idea of what rural South Africans would want to see when visiting the big city for the first time. They also want to create a lasting impression with international tourists as they emerge from the Gautrain station below ground into Sandton for the first time.
Portside is unique to top five in that it is the only building on the list that is already under construction. Located on the foreshore of Cape Town’s CBD, it will claim the title of being the city’s tallest tower from the Metlife Building when it is completed in early 2014. Work commenced last August, and since then excavations have been completed, foundations have been poured and the central core of the tower is rising. Over the next two years, the tower will be built up to a total of 32 floors. Two cranes currently oversee work on the site, and concrete is being pumped from a site next door – 1 Dock Road – under Bree Street.
Despite being under construction, Portside’s final design decisions have yet to be made. Already having received a drastic redesign from the original scheme announced back in 2008, it remains to be seen what the final product will look like. DHK Architects are the lead architects on the project, with Louis Karol Architects acting as their assistant architects.
Mutual Tower will act as the new headquarters of Old Mutual. Located in Africa’s premier financial centre – Sandton – its total floor count is approximated to be 41 storeys. The tower will also have a smaller mixed-use block attached to it of around 10 storeys. This will contain a retail element for the many employees working in the complex.
Designed by TPS.P Architects, Mutual Tower will stand out as an iconic addition to the Sandton skyline, flanked by the new Gautrain Station and the Radisson Blu Sandton Eye Hotel. It perhaps draws its inspiration from the Hearst Magazine Tower in New York.
The Sandton International Finance Centre will be developed by Chinese investment firm CHN Eagle Investments. Potentially rising to 60 storeys, it will trump the Carlton Centre as the tallest building on the continent, should it go ahead in its current form. Also designed by TPS.P architects, its futuristic design lends itself an impressive corporate air.
Finally, topping our list of the top five planned buildings in South Africa is Liberty Tower One. To be developed by Liberty Properties, it will rest on top of Sandton City mall. Numerous final floor counts have floated about over the years, but it is expected that the sleek, glass tower will rise to more than 60 storeys. It will form the final phase of the Sandton City redevelopment plans, with the Sandton City mall extension, Holiday Inn hotel redevelopment, as well as the recladding of the existing two towers on-site making up the first three phases.
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