In an era where it seems a preference exists for knocking down buildings and starting again rather than taking a restorative approach, it is always refreshing to see amazing designs emerge from an existing structure. Heatherwick Studio’s renovation of a former grain silo building in Cape Town, is one such approach, and an incredibly successful one at that.

Heatherwick Studios is overseeing the conversion of the building, in which the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) will open later this year. However, occupying the space above the silos, a luxury hotel has been built within the structure, aptly named the  Silo Hotel.

What I find most reassuring about this project and the silos refurbishment, is the retention and respect of many of the buildings original features. Instead of significantly altering the structure, Heatherwick Studios has taken a reserved approach, resulting in a hybrid design of new and old that pays reverence to both the past and future of the building.

What I find most reassuring about this project and the silos refurbishment, is the retention and respect of many of the buildings original features. Instead of significantly altering the structure, Heatherwick Studios has taken a reserved approach, resulting in a hybrid design of new and old that pays reverence to both the past and future of the building.

My goal has always been to pay tribute to luxury and [provide] comfort for our guests,” said Biden. “This has meant balancing the stark and industrial style of the architecture with aspects of classic glamour and modern comfort.

The new hotel is also filled with furniture and artwork made by locals from the region, including chandeliers made from repurposed steel rings used within the grain elevator. Each of the 28 guest rooms and suites is unique, with fabrics, wallpapers, and furnishings contributing to the individual character of these spaces.

One of the reasons I like this design so much is because of the ideas it raises as to how we can incorporate our own industrial structures into future designs in Auckland. With the likes of City Works Depot and Ponsonby Central, it is clear that the re-use of existing structures can be incredibly successful, I can only hope the trend continues into the future!