DURBAN APARTMENT TOWER
Type: Open international competition.
Location: Durban. South Africa.
A new landmark in the city of Durban. A new wooden tower raises itself from the trees on the ground. It is composed by free elevations, unpredictables, that as brise-soleis protect the interior of the building from the incoming sun. As a new inhabitant of the XXI century, its construction is also a response to its time. An experimental modular housing tower, built completely with wooden structural elements. The swastika layout in every level, lets an aleatory variation of the housing units and the other parts of the building. By doing this, a free composition of plans, sections and elevations is possible. It is then, a typological model with infinite combinations both esthetics and functionals.
The building is divided into three parts. The plinth, with the retail areas with a free height of 5m, are placed around a Green public space, slightly sunk into the ground and separated from the traffic and the pace of life of the city of Durban. The intermediate volume is composed by the combination of housing units around the central core, with the stairs and elevators. By subtracting some elements of those housing units, new open air spaces are created, as private gardens for the owners. A tall building should also have the possibility to enjoy the nature and open spaces. From those terraces, the city of Durban and its coast and harbour could be seen. In the top of the building is where the common areas are placed, such as the nursery, the swimming pool and the gym. Again a terrace appears, but in this case, open to the city and to the sky.
The wood understood as the unique and singular constructive material. Being respectful with the environment, is shown to the exterior and to the interior of the building. The central core is made of CLT panels. The perimeter is reinforced with a gluelam beam. Between these two elements, and joining them together, CLT panels are placed. The interior vertical structure is also made of CLT panels which adapt themselves to the several layouts of the plans and housing units. The elevations are made of structural CLT panels, and their free composition give to the city a new iconic view.
Tall buildings can be built on wood. And even more, they can be beautiful. A new landmark in the city that in a honest way shows its wooden construction system. The sky’s the limit, let’s touch it !