Hotel Sky – Foreshore
|Location||Foreshore, Cape Town|
The Metropolitan Office Building was designed by Cape Town architect Douglas Roberts and is a good example of the architecture that belonged to the 1970`s in South Africa with a particular emphasis on concrete panel prefabrication. It had outlived its usefulness and was no longer attractive as an office building. It is very well located relative to the Cape Town International Convention Center which is literally on its doorstep as well as the city and the renowned Waterfront. It offered huge potential as a hotel site and the building was purchase and converted into a hotel with almost 600 rooms together with the public spaces one would associate with a hotel of this size. The hotel has been designed to provide very good accommodation at a very reasonable cost which will open the Cape Town tourist market to many more people particularly from the rest of Africa than at present.
Of note is the structural grid of 8,4 meters which was designed around a parking grid and a prestressed structural floor system. Both issues presented significant difficulties in changing the open plan offices into hotel spaces. We managed to fit three bedrooms within the 8,4-meter grid – each room has an internal wall to wall width of 2,2 meters. The prestressed floor presented difficulties as all services had to be threaded between the prestressed wires of the floor slabs. More than 18,000 core drills were made to facilitate the installation of the service pipes in the building. This required unbelievable accuracy on the part of the builder. 10% of the rooms comprise bunk rooms which consist of four double bunk beds providing bed space for 8 people. This has proved popular for families as well as visiting sports teams.
Particular attention was focused on the ground floor lobby area and the rooftop which affords spectacular views of the city. Two pools were hung off the stepped narrow side of the building with extensive timber deck decks. A forty-meter-high tower has been placed on the roof which will offer the thrill of what has been dubbed “the ride of death”. This experience is open to the public and has proved very popular. In deference to the original design the facades have remained largely untouched although we have added small opening windows to each bedroom for natural cross ventilation. In visual terms this provides no disruption to the existing facade design. The construction of this project was very complex and involved more than 750 workers on site at the same time during long periods of the construction phase. The contractors WBHO were exemplary.