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Africa’s first biophilic building to be built in Cape Town

Called The Fynbos, the development will feature 689 apartments across 24 floors, a rooftop sunset terrace with lap pool and co-working space, a rooftop fitness centre, and a ground-floor plant-based restaurant with a tearoom and botanical bar.

By House & Garden South Africa | September 20, 2021 | Category

Image: thefynbos.com
Image: thefynbos.com

Africa’s first completely biophilic building is set to be built in Cape Town’s Bree Street.

Called The Fynbos, the development will feature 689 apartments across 24 floors, a rooftop sunset terrace with lap pool and co-working space, a rooftop fitness centre, and a ground-floor plant-based restaurant with a tearoom and botanical bar.

“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,” says Paul Upton, head of developments for Dogon Group Properties, marketing agents for The Fynbos.

Image: thefynbos.com
Image: thefynbos.com

“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.”

A team of architects, botanists, landscape designers, and sustainability experts came together to make The Fynbos possible.

According to Upton, climate control at The Fynbos, which was designed by architects TwentyEightZeroTwo, will be sustained by natural layers, with exterior plantings having a cooling effect by providing shade and screening.

“Vegetation is an absorptive barrier that assists in natural noise reduction. Plants also absorb harmful chemicals and clean the air,” he says.

The Fynbos will also feature a unique cantilevered and staggered balcony design that incorporates a sophisticated rainwater harvesting system. This, in addition to well-point filtration and low flow fittings, will improve water efficiency and reduction throughout the building.

When it comes to electricity, strategically integrated solar panels will generate double the electricity quota needed to power the common areas, minimising fossil fuel consumption, while 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,” says Paul.

Expansive windows and glass sliding doors will feature specialized double glazing, This acts as a sound softener as well as reduces the amount of energy spent on heating in winter.

But, one the of the most exceptional features of The Fynbos is its exterior. Enclosed in a 1 200m2 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.

In addition, a highly technical water and nutrient system, will monitor plant growth through automated root scanners, while monitored water content and drainage, will be supported by ‘flying’ gardeners who will manage maintenance externally.

Portraying a green, leafy, and geometric aesthetic, each plant used in The Fynbos is inspected for aesthetics and resilience.

The design was based on the landscape of Table Mountain - with trees at the base and lower profile, shrubs and cascading plants towards the top.

“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.