The Ridge: Portswood Precinct, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Studio MAS

The Ridge is an 8,500m2 6-star GBCSA rated commercial head office building situated in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This innovative development was conceived with the vision to establish new benchmarks for sustainable office buildings in South Africa. The design involved a close collaborative process between the client, architect and engineers. The result is a building in which architecture and engineering are thoroughly integrated with a number of “firsts” for the market.

The Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) façade gives the building its distinct identity. The pleated timber façade corrects the solar orientation of the building to maximise light and minimise heat load. The building further has a mixed mode climate control system comprising of TABS, displacement ventilation and natural ventilation. The focus on passive design to maximise daylight, whilst minimising heat load and glare, makes it possible to control the temperature of the building passively for approximately 82% of the year. The central street defines the interior space: it’s where people circulate, meet, interact. The street also acts as the chimney for the natural ventilation strategy as well as allowing natural light into the deep central portion of the floor plates through the feature ‘drums’. The buildings success relies on a behavioural change from the corporate user – for example the opening and closing of windows. This relationship between inhabitant and the outside has a direct impact on the energy/carbon consumption, fresh air, the clothes you wear to work, one’s connection to the outside environment, and ultimately happiness levels.