20 Vineyard Road, Claremont

MSa Michele Sandilands Architects

Situated on a small plot in Claremont, 20 Vineyard Road presents a concise, well considered approach to urban complexity in the city. The building mass is held to the existing block by way of a clay brick service core, wrapping the generous staircase and punctuated for light, air and texture. From here, layers of concrete slabs cantilever outwards, completing the city block. The structure is set back so that there is no emphasis on the envelope or facade, thereby offering a section-like quality to the overall building. An ingenious use of structural glass panes placed at oblique angles obviates the need for mullions, resulting in a fluctuating curtain of reflection and transparency. Louvred window openings are interspersed, adding to the sense of glazed tapestry. To counteract the heat gain on the glazed facade, automated aluminium blinds respond to sunlight and create a cavity that assists the extraction of hot air into ducts concealed in bulkheads. A clever connection to the adjoining building allows for two levels of parking without having to sacrifice any of the ground floor area.

Public generosity is evident in the attention to detail on the ground floor, where a beautiful mosaic wall depicts the history of the site and a thickened plinth allows for passersby to sit for a moment while waiting or simply taking in the city’s sights and sounds. The rounded glazing on the ground floor reminds one of some of the historic cafés in the city, a sentimental nod to Art Deco luxury.

Sandiland’s intentions of public celebration are to be seen in the close attention to detail in the foyer, the stairwell and the beautiful roof garden. It’s a pity that this public access is curtailed by security concerns, which results in an unused roof top with extraordinary views over the city and Devil’s Peak. Some geometric playfulness is evident in the wall cladding and tiling detail, where elements of Japanese Kintsugi might be inferred:

This building injects a playful energy into what is fast becoming the central social hub of Claremont (MSa 2023).

Client:Ingenuity Properties – Arnold Maresky, John Bielich

Architects:MSa Michele Sandilands Architects – Michele Sandilands, Kevin Porter, Mubeen Salie

Quantity Surveyor:LDM Quantity Surveyors – Navin Naidu, Ping Han

Structural Engineers:De Villiers Consultants – Christiaan de Villiers, Christo Ellis

Electrical Mechanical Engineers:JD Reitz Consulting Engineers – Nicol Hanekom, Ofer Setton

Town Planning:Urban Dynamics – Paul Olden, PJ Lerm

Energy Efficiency Engineers:PJ Carew Consulting – Paul Carew, Dolf Bakker, Marlene Senne, Yogesh Gooljar

Fire Consultant:Tom Esterhuizen & Associates – Tom Esterhuizen, Elroy Johns

Landscape Architect:Tarna Klitzner

Mosaic Artist:Lovell Friedman

Contractor:R + N Master Builders (Cape) – Roger Buttress; Chris Daly