The Skycatcher, Northgate Island

Northgate, Cape Town

For our winning entry in a design competition, we re-imagined an existing car park ramp as a multi-purpose meeting, recreation, and event space as part of a broader building refurbishment. This spiral ramp structure forms the core of the long four-storey building which is located in a district of large, low rise commercial and industrial buildings and flanked by the busy N1 highway. We were commissioned to transform the ramp into a unique amenity that would attract dynamic new tenants to the development.

Our Skycatcher concept provides a unique urban place-making opportunity through the creation of a consolidated façade of vertical greenery. Climbers and hanging plants wrap the ramp structure, creating an eye-catching cylinder of green. A carefully engineered slice through the concrete ramp, allows sunlight to stream down onto a large reflecting pool at the base of the structure, while an amphitheatre provides opportunities for gatherings alongside the reflecting pool. Here, visitors can experience the sky and the inner green-draped walls reflected in the pool. For those wanting to take a break from their office environment, seating areas along the ramp offer breakaway spaces for lunch and relaxation. A beer garden and food stalls have been built adjacent to the ramp to provide sustenance. The arbour-like ramp functions as an ambulatory or open air gallery and opens up to reveal the sky above and panoramic views of Devils Peak and Table Mountain.

The Skycatcher brings the outside in, and draws the inside out – creating spaces rich in sensory experience and balances built and natural elements to create a valuable and unique urban place.