Project Details

Client: University of the Western Cape
Category: Specialised / Iconic buildings
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Architect: dhk
Completed: 2011


This building fuses six science departments into a single landmark facility with the aim of fostering interdepartmental and trans-disciplinary research and putting UWC on the world map for scientific inquiry.

Henry Fagan Consulting Engineers & Project Managers were appointed as structural engineers for the learning centre and shading structures. The reinforcing for the curved geometry and irregular column grid was optimised through complex finite element analyses. Some of the supporting columns are inclined and consist of steel pipe sections filled with concrete. The structure was designed not only to bring the architect’s vision to life but also to accommodate the complex system of services. The roof slab, sloping in portions, carries soil of up to 800 mm for the intensive roof garden.

The West entrance pergola, providing shade over a courtyard where students can congregate between classes, was an interesting design challenge. Supported on a forest of tall inclined steel tree-columns, the structure has an irregular and organic layout. The structural analysis involved repeated computer runs while adjusting angles and column positions to optimise member sizes and achieve acceptable deflections.

Awards Won

CIA Award for Architecture 2011

SAPOA excellence awards 2012

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