Peerutin Architects were commissioned by e.tv in early 2011 to explore the development potential of a recently acquired 6675m2 site in the Gardens area of Cape Town, in close proximity to Roeland Street and Parliament.
e.tv is a rapidly growing, free-to-air television station nationwide and therefore, central to the brief for the feasibility study, was the requirement to relocate and house the station’s Cape Town operations at movein and to accommodate their needs well into the future.
e.tv was housed from it’s inception, in the historic landmark building known as Longkloof Studios in the Gardens area. In the years since inception, e.tv had enjoyed exponential growth within the walls of Longkloof but were rapidly outgrowing their available space. Technology had also made significant advances over the years and it was becoming clear that new, bespoke and state-of-the-art premises were becoming necessary to ensure the station’s continued growth and relevance in the approaching digital era
In addition, the proposals needed to include for multiple tenancies as well as a possible phased construction sequencing. The site was therefore divided into two distinct phases. While Planning Permission has been granted for both phases, only Phase 1 has been completed to date while Phase two is under consideration for a possible start on site in early 2016.
Early design discussions quickly highlighted the notion that ‘growing up’ in the raw, industrial character of the Longkloof building had a significant influence on the collective psyche of the ETV management and staff. While earlier design explorations tested lighter, cleaner and more contemporary expressions of commercial architecture, with full height, full width glazing to capture light and views across the city, it was ultimately agreed that design proposals should reflect the station’s nostalgic origins, though reinvented and reinterpreted.
Having achieved the commercial target of financial feasibility in the built form, it is in the materials palette that we were able to find expression for that nostalgia by creating an environment reminiscent of the tactile quality of space that defined e.tv’s roots.
Our materials palette therefore, includes off-shutter concrete, Table mountain Granite stonework, facebrick, steel, glass and aluminium fenestration and a lightweight roof clad in ‘Rheinzink’. Each material was carefully chosen for it’s relevance, locale and character in the overall composition.
As an added challenge the brief was extended to meet the criteria for a 4-star rated building as defined by the Green Building Council of South Africa. Materials and technologies had to conform to these standards.
The overall composition is a well-defined hierarchical stacking of layers vertically, with each layer clearly expressing the accommodation structure within the building.
Internally, the theme of nostalgia and reminiscence of e.tv industrial origins is continued, though more subtely, in the expressions of painted bagged brick, raw concrete ceilings and exposed servicing where possible. A blend of sophisticated, sleek materials with the robust, industrial components make an interesting bridge between the humble, rooted beginnings and the anticipated hi-tech future of the station.