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Marketplace August 2016

Marketplace August 2016

Here’s what August property news, reports, and dream homes you should be aware of. We look at the biomimetic layout of the FPT University in Vietnam, the plan to develop the Foreshore Freeway Precinct in Cape Town, celebrate the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland, and see what the Greenovate Awards Programme is all about.

Towards a concrete mountain

We’re suckers for attractive feats of architecture, especially when they have biomimicry characteristics, such as the FPT University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, construction of the university campus began in June this year and, aside from looking like a growing mountain that blends into the natural landscape and blurs the line between concrete and greenery, it has been described as the city’s new icon of sustainability. The copious amount of trees and vegetation as part of its design will reduce the building’s carbon footprint and greatly improve the air quality of the surrounding area.



Unfinished business

A solution to Capetonians’ favourite urban skeleton – the Foreshore’s unfinished highway and its bridges – is in development. The plans depend on the city finding a suitable private sector partner to help drive development of the city-owned land underneath the site as well as fund the completion of the bridges. The city released its prospectus for the development of the Foreshore Freeway Precinct last month, which outlines the necessary information. Two important criteria are that a portion of land be developed for various housing options for a cross section of income groups and that the winning proposal should also address the area around the site’s congestion problems.



Tunnel vision

The Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland officially opened in June. The world’s longest and deepest train tunnel, the plans of which have been waiting almost 70 years to be actioned, is a marvel of modern engineering and construction capabilities.

Here’s an outline of the facts

• The initial sketch was completed in 1947 but construction kept being postponed.
• The tunnel-boring machine was 410m long, the length of four football fields, and 2 300m deep.
• 28.2 million tonnes of rock were excavated.
• When it’s fully functional by the end of the year, there will be 325 trains using it per day.



Local greenery

At the recent South African Property Owners Association awards, Growthpoint Properties and the Green Building Council of South Africa’s joint partnership, the Greenovate Awards Programme, scooped the Excellence Award for Innovation. The programme was launched to promote sustainability in the built environment and is aimed at students of the various associated disciplines to discover, explore and invent ways to live more sustainably.



The right fit

It’s never too late to improve your home – and Saint-Gobain makes it possible.

Do you love your home but feel it could be updated or improved for increased sustainability? This isn’t as arduous a task as you may think. As a pioneer in life-improving building technology, Saint-Gobain offers accessible innovation opportunities in the form of products that can transform your house. Its new Home Upgrade campaign aims to show homeowners that they can retrofit their existing houses to be better (for their inhabitants and the environment) and more comfortable with even minor changes.

Aside from providing the products, Saint-Gobain also offers their expertise by outlining the benefits of each material, providing proof of better performance, hints and tips for installation, and a list of retail partners and service providers.

As part of its mission to show the life-improving potential of modifying an existing home to improve efficiency, sustainability and comfort, Saint-Gobain is offering three varying modification levels (one major retrofit worth R250 000 and two ‘comfort packs’ worth R2 500 and R15 000 respectively) to homeowners.

Saint-Gobain will use its range of products and expertise to improve the following aspects, which will include upgrading the walls, ceilings, insulation, flooring and select glass windows along with the installation of a web-based digital monitoring solution (the grand prize):

• Indoor temperature performance (thermal comfort)
• Increased savings (economic comfort)
• Less noise (audio comfort)
• Indoor air quality (air comfort)
• A sense of calm and wellbeing for users (visual comfort)

The first phase of the campaign is a call for entries: homeowners can apply online via Closing date 31 August 2016.



Contact details

• Vo Trong Nghia Architects:
• Cape Town website:
• Gotthard Base Tunnel:
• Saint-Gobain:


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