Cape Town’s bid story

The City of Cape Town's successful bid for World Design Capital 2014 was coordinated by the Cape Town Partnership, in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders and supporters.

Beyond 2014: A convention centre with a 2020 vision

Last week the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) announced the winning architectural team to work on its R700-million expansion project – all of whom are Capetonian.

Piet Bakker of Stauch Vorster Architects, Mokena Makeka of Makeka Design Lab, and Anya van der Merwe – the first woman architect from South Africa to receive a lifetime achievement award from the world’s largest architecture association, the American Institute of Architecture – from Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects will be leading the project that will see the centre doubling in capacity over the next three years.

The CTICC expansion project falls into a broader plan to create a R1.4-billion convention precinct that includes connecting the CTICC with Artscape by regenerating the Founders’ Garden and developing a hub for Cape Town’s business, retail, cultural and events activity.

“The expansion will serve as a flagship architectural project in light of Cape Town’s 2014 designation,” says Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, managing director of Cape Town Partnership, the coordinators of Cape Town’s World Design Capital bid. “Although work on the extension will not be completed until 2015, the progress made in implementing this bold concept and vision will certainly be showcased in a global spotlight and celebrated worldwide.”

Project 6211: Designing for a diverse city

The architectural concept itself also underscores values embodied in 2014 bid: diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. Entitled 6211, it is a design interpretation of the globally unique biodiversity of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, famous for being the smallest and most diverse of only six kingdoms in the world.

“Using the DNA code of the 6210 plant species endemic to the Cape Floristic kingdom, plus one dedicated to humanity,” explains Mokena, “6211 transforms the convention centre into an iconic living artwork that celebrates and raises awareness about humanity and nature for the passive enjoyment of local and global audiences.”

Turning the CTICC expansion into a “living art gallery and an expression of the Western Cape”, Mokena explains, “will help to connect mankind and nature in a poetic way, foster learning and establish a stronger connection with the public.”

Anya van der Merwe confirmed that the new building will be a seamless extension: Not only will it expand on existing exhibition and conference facilities, allowing for massive events, but it will also be able to function as an independent facility, allowing for simultaneous events.

Bulelwa also emphasises Anya’s reputation for sustainability motivated architectural interventions: “It’s clear from the design concepts presented that the expansion is being treated with the utmost sensitivity, both to the natural environment – the CTICC has a four-star green rating and is aiming for a six-star green rating – and to the spatial and human context of the city.”

Vision 2020: What being an events city means for the economy

The expansion is crucial to the CTICC’s goal of being the best long-haul convention centre in the world by 2020. Already home to world-famous events such as the Design Indaba and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the convention centre has already received 863 bookings between now and 2020, including a 10 000 delegate International Geological Conference in 2016.

What will hosting more international events mean for Cape Town?

The core mandate of the CTICC is to contribute to economic growth and job creation in the province – by attracting international meetings and events. Since opening its doors in 2003, the centre has contributed to the creation of more than 60 000 direct and indirect jobs and has played a pivotal role in raising the profile of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a leading, globally competitive meetings destination. The expansion is likely to increase the number of direct and indirect jobs created by the centre from about 7 000 to about over 10 000 per annum by 2018.

To find out more about the trio of Cape Town architects, connect with them online:

To read up on the CTICC’s sustainability credentials, read their 2011 sustainability report.