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City Development Update: Old Biscuit Mill Silo Redevelopment




An artists impression of the redeveloped grain silo at the Old Biscuit Mill.

  • Floors: 5 floors + 1 panoramic floor
  • Type: Educational & Commercial
  • Architects: Kristof Basson Architects
  • Owner/Developer: Indigo Properties
  • Contractors: G.R. Building & Steel
  • Crane count: 1
  • Completion Date: Completed
 Indigo Properties on the redevelopment:
Cape Town: The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock’s renowned creative retail space, recently welcomed a R10 million, six-storey transformation of its iconic silo. The tower was previously the functional mainstay of the original flour mill; a storage space for grain, but after a complex renovation by owners, Indigo Properties, it is now the home of Cape Town Creative Academy (CTCA), Cocoa Fair chocolate factory and Luke Dale-Roberts’ penthouse restaurant, The Pot Luck Club.
Architect Kristof Basson, (Kristof Basson Architects) who was responsible for the 2005 redevelopment of the Old Biscuit Mill, was once again appointed to redesign the silo. As with the previous Old Biscuit Mill development, Basson felt strongly that the historical elements and style should be retained as far as possible but did not shy away from introducing contemporary elements.– as evidenced in the sleek glass and steel lift and the new canopy that has been installed as a weather measure for the weekly Neighbourgoods Market.
Says Basson; “All new work on the building has been done in different materials to differentiate between the new and the original structure. It is our vision that each intervention should not be hidden, but should be seen as an added layer to the historical building, the marks of an evolution of the building through a new generation.
To maximise daylight inside the building, a translucent internal wall system was designed to allow light to penetrate throughout the building. More natural light minimises the energy usage in the day time.
The demolition of the existing internal concrete walls of the Silo was a complex challenge focused on preventing the external walls from collapsing. As the first concrete blocks were cut out and lowered to the ground by crane, it was discovered that there was less than half the amount of steel reinforcing in the concrete that was originally estimated.”
Fortunately experienced structural engineers; Kantey & Templer Consulting Engineers (K&T) were on hand to stabilise the site. Chris von Geusau, Managing Director of K&T says, “The old reinforced concrete silo structure was some 70 years old and we needed to secure it with internal steel bracing struts to demolish the internal concrete walls. The new structure was then built up, floor by floor, using steel beams with precast concrete flooring, all lifted over the top walls by crane.”
“The type of structure left the Architect with an industrial look of steel and concrete that suited the intended aesthetics of the new space. The steel and concrete roof over the silo is supported by steel portal frames anchored to the side walls. The project took on a life of its own with a positive spirit amongst all those involved to achieve something different that would attract the attention of all those who visit the venue.” concluded Geusau.
Lyle Raatz from G.R. Building & Steel added, “When we were appointed to this project, we knew we were delving into the unknown but it was made extremely challenging in that we had to accommodate live businesses at the bottom of the silo and on either side, so everything demanded a very high level of communication and planning. It will forever be one of those projects that we can be proud of.”
Barry Harlen, Director of the Indigo Property Group explains, “It was a tough project but one that has been well worth the effort. The end result is a space like no other, the bird’s eye view of Woodstock from the restaurant is a new perspective on Cape Town and the Creative Academy literally represents a new perspective on design through their focus on trans-disciplinary tertiary education. All in all, an exciting addition to the tenant mix and great company for the silo’s resident chocolatiers.”
 Kristof Basson Architects on the redevelopment:
An extremely derelict Pyotts Biscuit Mill, a landmark in Albert Rd with industrial historical value was upgraded and developed into a new hub of creative craftsmen and an organic gourmet market. The theme “theatre in retail” reflects that all artists & designers not only shop, but also have their workshop on site to provide interaction with their clientele. Seven derelict or unimportant buildings which cluttered the space were demolished to create meaningful spaces between the buildings. Existing historical buildings were restored and renovated. Instead of attempting to hide additions, all new work was done in steel to add a “new layer” to the existing historical ones. Although in a different material, the same architectural language was used for these elements. Impenetrable ground floor walls were opened up with large steel framed windows An old well was discovered and restored. New walkways, stairs, a stage and a fountain with a waterwheel were added.

 

Completed - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Completed – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Completed - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Completed – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior - Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Interior – Image courtesy Indigo Properties

Taken 22 Dec 2012

Taken 22 Dec 2012

NHM1

Taken on 9 August 2012.
The panoramic space at the top is looking great!

Taken on 9 August 2012.

Taken on 9 August 2012.

Taken on 9 August 2012.

Taken on 9 August 2012.

Photo taken before the redevelopment. Copyright of Kristof Basson Architects.




  • The reference to Indigo Properties – is that a separate developer to the current owners of the Biscuit Mill? The link takes me to some Dubai property group, but I’m sure that can’t be right…

    • Indigo Properties are the current owners of The Old Biscuit Mill. It appears that they don’t have a website and that the link we used (also used by PrivateProperties.co.za) is incorrect.

      You should be able to contact Barry Harlen (Financial Director of Indigo Properties) on 021 486 5999 if you want more info on them. (This is the real Indigo 😉 )