South Africa’s Cape Town opens land mark building The Citadel

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Cape Town’s new landmark building, The Citadel, was officially opened last night amidst great anticipation and excitement.

The 6,000m² architectural masterpiece is the new head office of wealth management business Citadel and aptly reflects the company’s ethos of classic simplicity, quality and timelessness.

Located in the heart of Claremont, next to Cavendish Shopping Centre, The Citadel comprises a six-storey, four-star green building, with four basement parking levels below, adding a further 6,000m2 to the gross built area. The two street facades are clad entirely in pale Namibian granite and give the building an ultramodern form.

Traditional, solid materials are revisited to make an optimistic new edifice that is both Classic and Modern.

“For millennia, great societies have erected stone citadels – from Jerusalem to Beijing and from Rome to Babylon,” explains Robert Silke, Architect and Principal, Robert Silke & Partners. “And when citadels are commissioned, they are (more often than not) erected from solid stone. For this Citadel, we have chosen the most durable stone: granite.”

“We are delighted with our new home,” enthuses Andrew Möller, CEO of Citadel, “particularly the interior flow which draws people together and creates a constructive working environment. The building has been created on a very tight budget – as careful fund managers we ensured expenses were controlled.”

All 12,000m² of The Citadel were constructed for a modest R130m, equating to a construction cost of just over R10,000/m² – at a time when developers are struggling to build for between R15,000.00-R20,000.00/m².

“Based on the ‘style-moderne’ architecture of mid-20th century cities such as New York – and being the first stone panel building in Claremont – it is intended to be distinct,” says Silke. “With it, we aim to convey the solid presence of Citadel – its heritage and its future.”

“Cape Town is part of the 100 Resilient Cities challenge and contributing towards climate and city resilience was an important element of the building design,” adds Möller.

Green building elements which aim to reduce the environmental impact – such as energy reduction and efficiency as well as the use of natural materials – were included in the building design while sustainable practices were also used during the construction phase.

For example, demolition and construction waste was diverted from landfill and where possible, recycled steel has been used.

The Citadel targets the efficient use of water and limits the impact of the building’s emissions such as light pollution and ozone depletion.

From an interior environmental quality perspective, comfort factors such as external views and glare control are taken into account. Ongoing assessment from the design, through the construction phase until completion has seen The Citadel being awarded a 4-Star Green Star rating.

Robert Silke & Partners’ Jessica White carried out the interior design for Citadel’s internal areas and most of its sub-tenancies. Picking up from the stone facade, marbles and warm metals on the public ground floor give way to an oak-treaded helical staircase up to a softer, warmer “club” environment upstairs.

With predominantly wooden flooring, the first floor offers panoramic views of Table Mountain over the tree canopies. The area is intended to evoke a tree-house or club-house feeling, with a sense of belonging. A well-sized break-out area downstairs leads to a private entertainment courtyard and an impressive 140-seat raked auditorium.

The interiors are, like the facade, distinctively modern in form but traditional in material and substance. Leathers, marbles and coppers are used, whilst seating is svelte and sophisticated.

The Citadel rises to nearly 30m in height and has been developed by Citadel Investment Services in a joint venture with national property development and asset management group, Atterbury, and landowners, Catalyst.

The contractor was Stabilid Cape. Robert Silke & Partners is the Design Architect in association with Project Architects, LKA.

“Our staff and clients are very proud of our flagship office,” Möller adds. “It aptly reflects the standard of excellence that we at Citadel hold ourselves to. We look forward to being a part of the Claremont community for many years to come.”