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Cape Town To Boast Africa’s First Truly Biophilic Building

The first biophilic development in Africa has been launched in Cape Town and will see a 24-storey living, breathing mixed-use building take residence on Upper Bree Street in the heart of the cities CBD.

This first-of-its-kind building, situated at 142 Bree Street, will feature 689 apartments, and includes a rooftop sunset terrace with lap pool and co-working space, a rooftop fitness centre, as well as a ground-floor plant-based restaurant, a tearoom, and a botanical bar.

“As the first truly biophilic living structure on the continent, The Fynbos – which is currently in the process of achieving Green Star certification from the Green Building Council – will have several innate sustainability features built into it from inception,” says Paul Upton, head of developments for Dogon Group Properties, marketing agents for The Fynbos, who explains that the biophilic concept centres on integrating nature into an urban setting. 

“Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that looks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic buildings incorporate things like natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements to create a more productive and healthier built environment.”

According to Upton, climate control at The Fynbos, which was designed by architects TwentyEightZeroTwo, will be provided by natural layers, with exterior plantings having a cooling effect to provide shade and screening. “Vegetation is an absorptive barrier that assists in natural noise reduction. Plants also absorb harmful chemicals and clean the air. Water efficiency at The Fynbos will be improved through low-flow fittings, well-point filtration, and a sophisticated rainwater harvesting system is integrated into the unique cantilevered and staggered balcony design.”

“Tastefully integrated PV solar panels will generate double the electricity quota needed to power the common areas, minimising fossil fuel consumption, and a central heated water system allows for economies of scale and avoids individual geysers.  These energy savings will be passed back to the owners through reduced levies. Expansive windows and glass sliding doors, utilising specialized double glazing, overlooking panoramic views of mountain and city, will allow in abundant natural light.  The double glazing reduces the amount of energy spent on heating in winter and acts as a sound softener.”

One of the most exceptional sustainable design features at The Fynbos is its exterior, which is draped in a 1200m2 vertical garden made up of 30 species of indigenous trees and 20 species of shrub. The pioneering garden system at The Fynbos was meticulously designed and executed by a specialist team of technical botanists headed up by Donovan Gillman of Urban Choreography, who has over 45 years’ experience with growing plants in difficult locations across Africa.

Gillman explains that a specific configuration of vegetation and a highly technical water and nutrient system, which will monitor growth through automated root scanners, as well as monitored water content and drainage, will be supported by “flying” gardeners who will manage maintenance externally.

100% indigenous to the Cape, each plant at The Fynbos is considered for aesthetics and resilience. The look is green, leafy and geometric. The schematic for how the plants will be placed across the structure follows the example of Table Mountain – with trees at the base and lower profile shrubs and cascading plants towards the top. Inside views are tidy and neat, while outside the canopy will drape the entire building.

Technical detailing is based on lessons from international precedent and biophilic research. Trees are anchored in place to survive gusts. Bigger planters contain rootspread and effectively “bonsai” the trees. A wind study identified crevices where more elaborate planters can be sheltered.

Apartments within this exceptional development, spearheaded by Lurra Capital and supported locally by Gardner Property Solutions, are scaled and priced to appeal to a diverse audience.  “The luxury studio units start at R890,400 and range in size from 24 square metres to 40 square metres.  The one bedroomed apartments start at R1,360 million and range in size from 34 square metres up to 58 square metres, whilst the two bedroomed apartments start at R4,920 million and range in size up to 82 square metres,” says Upton. 

“The apartments at The Fynbos, which boasts 24-hour concierge services and biometric access control, enjoy features such as solid hardwood floors throughout, SMEG integrated kitchens, hi-tech touchpoints, terrazzo surfaces, and a touch of Art Nouveau inspired detailing – all in a foliage-inspired palette of lush greens, warm terracottas, cool pale granites and natural timber, embellished with champagne metal.  Integrated planters provide a beautiful garden experience for each unit.”

“We are delighted to be involved with what is the first biophilic building on the African continent,” says Alexa Horne, Managing Director of Dogon Group Properties.  “Sustainability has become increasingly vital, and The Fynbos blends best-of-breed sustainability principles with iconic architecture and on-trend detailing – designed to be extraordinary in every way.  Various experts in their fields were brought on board to make The Fynbos possible. The botanist, architects, landscaper architect, engineers and sustainability experts have joined forces to give birth to this exceptional development that will redefine inner-city living for Cape Town, South Africa, and Africa as a whole.”

“The Fynbos, once complete, will be a living, breathing building which blurs the lines between nature and the built environment.  It is in the beating heart of Cape Town amidst some of the trendiest boutiques, eateries, galleries, theatres, and bars and is only a few minutes from the V&A Waterfront, Green Point Stadium, and Atlantic Seaboard beaches.  We anticipate high interest and demand for the apartments within this unique and truly iconic development,” concludes Horne.

For more information visit The Fynbos website at www.thefynbos.com or visit www.dogongroup.com.

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