Media 24 Competition / Cape Town
South African cities in general, including the foreshore of Cape Town were dominated in the
period from the 1960’s until recently by high rise buildings. This building typology can be
defined by a model representing maximum rentable space, versus building footprint, with the
result that the rentable model became the only criteria of defining a successful building. This
model from the 1960’s left behind a series desolate, inhumane and unusable city spaces
devoid of human activity. Furthermore parking requirements needed to cater for this model
only exacerbated the problem. The Sanlam Centre building of 1962 dates from this era, and
apart from being a very tall landmark expressing faith in the future, has made little
contribution towards providing a pleasant and usable cityscape in the immediate vicinity.
Reimagining an Icon – Discovering Opportunities:
The idea behind this design proposal is to analyse the city surrounding the now called Media
24 Building, and attempt to identify opportunities within what is already been implemented
by the Foreshore revitalization urban design framework currently underway. The designers
believe that by simply cladding the building will only allow for visual stimulus, but will not
make a remarkable contribution to improve the quality of the immediate surroundings. The
current urban design frameworks suggests that the proposed extensions to the Cape Town
Convention Centre, ties in with the proposed developments on the vacant lot on the east
(proposed Christiaan Barnard Hospital) and the new Artscape precinct. A proposed tree
lined boulevard will establish and reinforce this connection.
With this proposal a need was identified to latch onto and reinforce this “link” between the
Giving the City back to the People:
Due to the limited budget it was decided from the outset that by simply cladding the entire
building is not the solution as it will just be a meaningless renewed repetition of what is
In fact it was decided to only clad the north facing service core of the building and the west
facade facing Walter Sisulu Avenue.
“Wrap down” is a slogan the designers have chosen to define the symbolic statement the
building is making by means of a partial cladding that extends down to the “city floor”, thus
linking the building to the city at a pedestrian level.
The intervention on the “city floor” is in the form a plaza that latches onto the existing
planned pedestrian avenue which again links all the proposed precincts.
The plaza will be covered by a lightweight structure with coloured sheets, which can be
illuminated by night. The latter will provide protection against sun and rain.
The plaza itself will literally be defined by trees and a non-slip mosaic floor texture that will
be a massive art installation. The idea is that local street artists and anyone interested can
make a contribution to this artwork, which will reflect interpretations of milestone media
events over the last 60 years and in particular the founding of a democratic South Africa.
Reclaiming the City:
Hopefully the new Media 24 Plaza will be a catalyst for the people of Cape Town to
meander, spend time, song and dance and take part in normal activities of a humane and
liveable city that includes all groups of society.
A City Landmark:
On a larger scale, the end of Walter Sisulu Avenue will terminate visually in an overly large
metal silhouette profile of the face of Walter Sisulu, celebrating his contribution to a
democratic South Africa. This artwork will also be illuminated by night. The contrast between
artwork and building background is deliberately subtle, so that the landmark functions
visually on a city scale and will not compete with the existing Bartolomeu Dias sculpture, in
the centre of the existing traffic circle.
Date : 2016