Six, Cape Town CBD. Arthur Quinton & Darryl Croome Architects for Leisure Development.

Excuse the terrible photo. If you have a better one, please add it to Flickr.

Edit: More images and discussion at Via rfataar on Flickr.  

I’ve spotted this a number of times on my way into and out of Cape Town CBD. I’ve watched its construction over the past months, and it’s bothered me. I wasn’t sure why. And then they painted the top grey!


I realised that the building has no roof. No top. At least not any meaningful top. Not a top that responds to the scale of the building. It’s all… middle! Well, perhaps there’s a bottom too. You can’t see that from the highway and I can’t really be bothered to go look.

The building goes all the way up and then—apart from that limp-wristed, skinny metal lid—it’s just sky! Simply painting the upper floor grey does not a top make.


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14 Responses to Six, Cape Town CBD. Arthur Quinton & Darryl Croome Architects for Leisure Development.

  1. Brent Smith says:

    Haha. I see this development every day. It’s not too bad. A bit uninspired perhaps.

  2. silentbee says:

    There’s no excuse for uninspired buildings in our cities. And this building is in such a prominent position. It’s also enormous! A whole city block. And no scale. No top. Flat, lifeless facades.

    Some discussion going on at Flickr:

  3. sarah says:

    oh this is too too hilarious. keep up the good work silent bee, and get louder, wouldya

  4. silentbee says:

    From Flickr (link above):

    silent bee says:

    > Its a case of build the most apartments
    > as cheaply as possible.

    That’s precisely what the building screams at me when I look at it! I understand developers and I get that that’s _exactly_ what they’re trying to achieve. The architects need to do better.

    Here the building looks like it’s been inflated inside the invisible box that are the site contraints. Inflated to fill every nook and cranny. Inflated to bursting point. It’s flat and unarticulated and boring and horrid.

    I can excuse bad architecture when it’s clear that there was at least an effort. This is lazy. And the rest if us get to look at it every time we drive into the Cape Town CBD. That’s inexcusable.

  5. I love the thatch finish! A great improvement on the grim painted grey top floor.
    PS. Each time I make my way into town I’ll have a chuckle while thinking what the building could look like.

  6. Edmund says:

    And you have tripled the no of units!!! Plus the gray floor now mimics a shadow. Our bee is on a buzz!!

    On another tack, can you imagine what it is like at ground zero, the monster block on your fight (sorry right) and freeway on left- the word ‘menacing’ comes to mind as does a social housing scheme near a free-way in Los Angeles was it that solved a lot of issues even with a flat roof and no comparable view?

  7. Charl says:

    Joining this building-bashing-brigade here a bit late…
    Yes, i agree that the ‘architecture’ has a lot left to be desired and yes it was a ‘developer-driven’project, but in my opinion, it would seem fair to look beyond ‘architecture’ as merely the physical aesthetic and rather look at other aspects of ‘architecture’ which we need to face as part of the South African (problem) context, particularly in Cape Town – Higher densities? Socio-economic opportunities? the list goes on…

    On the larger scale of things, the building in its own right has been successful (to a degree) in that it has started to re-activate the area by bringing in people of different economic backgrounds, the retail street edge, and a higher density which in the future will help sustain the public transport routes planned for that part of the city.

    Again, im in no way supporting the ‘aesthetic architecture’ but rather the attempt at facing some of the social and economic issues we face in South Africa.

    I am in no way affiliated with the architects or the developers involved…just my 2c…feel free to comment.

  8. Hi There

    As the son of the architect I challenge you to deliver a sexy building when working for a developer who gives you ZERO BUDGET and wants to control ever aspect of the design process.

    I saw the early concept sketches for the building and they were awesome.. including a rooftop jogging track and some really cool design features… however once the cost cutting started the building began to change

    Being a developer myself, I understand how this process unfolds, ESPECIALLY in this segment of the market where the ability to deliver on a shoestring budget is everything.

    Architecture is not just about pretty buildings I’m afraid.. it’s also about following the client brief and designing within the budget. Considering the brief and the budget I would say that AQDC did a very good job.

    The world is full of keyboard critics but short of professionals

    Matthew Quinton

  9. Eric says:

    wonder what these “educated” critics own houses look like?

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  12. chilipeppa says:

    As a builder I quite understand what Matthew was saying. Developers or their QS’s don’t get the sums right and then the cuts start. What once was supposed to be stunning becomes an eyesore because nobody did their homework properly or the Developer became greedy! I love AQDC’s work and think they are great, one cannot blame them for this dump.

  13. ed says:

    your photoshop is bad! =p

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