Case Study

Silo Hotel – Cape Town

An extraordinary hotel setting a new standard in luxury travel with nothing quite like it in the Cape Town city skyline. The Grain Silo Hotel, with its unusual glass-bubble façade, is a towering landmark in the heart of the V&A Waterfront. The cylindrical silos have been converted into a functional space designed to experience the volume from within.

Project Challenges

  • Acoustics and light are the dominating elements in this project. The challenge was to allow maximal use of natural daylight using an unusually large funnel and integrating artificial lighting to complement natural light. The design however also had to provide an excellent level of acoustic performance in a challenging large open plan structure with high windowed ceilings. In addition to a combination of acoustics, sound absorption and light, there was particular emphasis on architecture and functionality to meet the rigorous project standards.
  • The original Grain Silo building was a heritage site and because of this, the developers at the V&A Waterfront required materials that would support the building’s unique construction requirements.
  • The project called for lightweight yet high-strength wall and ceiling materials that would enhance visual appeal while adding practical value.
  • Challenging service specifications with push-button window blinds, placed behind the bulkheads required intricate installation.
  • Plastering at height provided a challenge which resulted in slow installation and safety considerations.

Key achievements using Saint-Gobain Solutions

  • The method of creating space by stripping parts of a building away was a new but welcome challenge for all involved. Because this project involved part deconstruction and part archaeology all teams had to work in collaboration to bring their experience and expertise into the finished hotel.
  • The teams had to ensure that the building adequately reflects its history and surroundings, so designed the building around what was already there. This was done by chipping away at the original structure, revealing its bones and carving out spaces within the original building to show its history.
  • Designing with the existing frame in mind resulted in bulging 56-panel windows which are a visual interpretation of the immense pressure of the grain that once filled the silos.
  • Gyproc products are made using less water at the factory level and require no water on site, which was a meaningful advantage considering the drought in the Western Cape region.
  • The time and money-saving benefits of drywall construction were highlighted and there was a 17.5% structural cost saving as well as a significant time-saving component resulting in the project being completed three months earlier than anticipated.
  • Specifying the right materials for this extraordinary luxury hotel resulted in an end-product which is not only sustainable but encompasses the safety and comfort features it sets out to achieve.

Saint-Gobain Solutions

Acoustic Insulation/Gyproc Acoustic Rigitone - 63dB (decibel) sound rating
• Study and private restaurant

Excellent Surface Finish/RhinoLite Cretestone Plaster - Smooth, seamless surface, ready to
receive decorative treatment
• All rooms

Moisture Resistance/Gyproc Moisture Resistant - Water resistant
• Bathrooms

Fire Protection/Gyproc Fire Rated - 60 minute fire protection between floors
• All rooms