Marketplace February 2016
Here’s what February property news, reports, and dream homes you should be aware of. We look at the Home Farm project, The Towers in Cape Town, and affordable microhomes.
Addressing the issue of how to accommodate a growing population of over-65s in Singapore, Spark Architects’ innovative Home Farm project has been winning accolades since its launch in 2014. The most recent was the Experimental – Future Projects category at the 2015 World Architecture Festival in Singapore. The Home Farm is a residential development focused on assisted living for the elderly. Its vertical aquaponic farming and rooftop soil planting have been applied to high-density, flexible housing designed to cater to the needs and preferences of seniors. Residents may combat the financial stress that’s often faced post-retirement by working part-time at the farm under the direction of a professional implementation team. And the Home Farm addresses another of Singapore’s pressing issues: that of food security, as 90 per cent of the country’s food is imported.
Redefining the Foreshore
The transformation of the former Standard Bank building in Cape Town’s central business district is part of a bigger development plan that will change the face of the Foreshore into a hub of commercial activity by 2020. The former bank building’s R533-million upgrade was undertaken by Redefine Properties after five years of planning. The green build, called The Towers and started in 2013, includes two new glass towers, a landscaped public atrium and a 13-floor parking area. Some of the green features are a system on the external facade that will reduce cooling demand by about 30 per cent, and energy-efficient lighting in public spaces. Tenants at The Towers include Redefine Properties Cape Town, Standard Bank of South Africa, Fairbridges Wertheim Becker Attorneys, three embassies and a flagship Food Lovers’ Eatery.
Six-pointed star for Rwanda
WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa, a multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, has achieved a six-star green rating for its Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali, Rwanda. The 19-storey building, of which 16 floors will be dedicated to office space, is the first six-star-rated green building not only in Rwanda, but on the entire continent outside of South Africa. The Green Building Council in Rwanda is still young, so WSP’s Green by Design team developed a local context report to establish the fundamentals for the country’s Green Star system and set the appropriate climatic and environmental guidelines unique to Rwanda. This groundwork by the team, which has a reputation as sustainability consultants throughout the continent, will be the standard by which all building projects in the country will be rated.
Affordable micro-homes fitted with all the basics of modern living…
At Tokyo Design Week late last year, Japanese retailer Muji launched three prototypes of prefabricated low-cost houses known as Muji Huts. Designed by heavyweights Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic and Naoto Fukasawa, the inspiration for each prototype was kyosho jutaku, the Japanese style of micro-home. Each designer used a different base material to bring his interpretation to life: Morrison used cork, Grcic used aluminium and Fukasawa used wood. The Muji Hut project is based on affordable, low-consumption, weekend cabins that come fitted with the basics of modern living.
The Seeff property group has announced its partnership with Hamptons International as its exclusive southern African partner. Hamptons International is a member of Countrywide, the largest real-estate group in the UK. ‘It was a natural progression for us to expand our reach,’ says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff property group. This exclusive partnership enables Seeff to market local properties internationally by leveraging access to foreign markets for local sellers. The partnership also gives South African buyers access to some 150 000 property listings worldwide.
A True Depiction
It’s refreshing when the marketing campaign of a residential estate reflects the excellence of that estate. This was the case at the Africa and Arabia Property Awards Summit 2015-2016 (part of the International Property Awards) held in Dubai in November last year, when South Africa’s Sitari Country Estate near Somerset West and its marketing specialist agency Adlab each walked away with honours. Adlab Advertising (Pty) Ltd won ‘5-Star Best Developer Website South Africa’ for the website it created for Sitari Country Estate, while the development itself won the ‘Highly Commended Residential Development South Africa’ award. Others worthy of mention were Waterfall Estates, for ‘Best Mixed-Use Development in Africa’; Pangia in Seychelles, for ‘Best Residential Development in Africa’; and the Feenstra Group’s Hatfield Studios development for ‘Best Residential High-Rise Development in Africa’.
The much-anticipated launch of Umhlanga’s Ridgeside precinct’s first residential development happens on 19 March. The Refinery consists of 180 units divided into studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and four-bedroom penthouses. The block is part of a secure gated estate that overlooks Umhlanga Village, with views to the Indian Ocean and easy access to Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Register online to receive an invitation to the launch.
- Spark Architects: sparkarchitects.com
- Redefine Properties: redefine.co.za
- WSP: wspgroup.com
- Muji: muji.com
- Hamptons International: hamptons.co.uk
- International Property Awards: propertyawards.net
- The Refinery: refineryliving.co.za
Text: Genevieve Putter
Photographs: iStock, supplied