Off-white, sculpted monolithic apartment block by dhk features terracing crescendo

Off-white, sculpted monolithic apartment block by dhk features terracing crescendo

dhk has completed an apartment block conceived as a monolith with indentations and cut-outs. The building includes 85 luxury apartments and penthouses supplemented with small-scale commercial and retail space at ground level. The development occupies a prominent corner position in Century City in Cape Town. Designed to capitalise on views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, the building sets a precedent for urban conscious residential developments in the city.


The building connects to the environment in a myriad of strategic ways. Its compact form wraps around itself and gradually rises, subsequently orientating most of the apartments towards views of the city. Visual gashes adorn the unique doughnut-shaped form – allowing the sheltered walkway spaces to catch glimpses of the city around it. And therefore, connect the inside circulation to the outside world. The rising form cuts away, creating dynamic terraces and activity at differing heights, culminating in generous penthouse units. Transporting every inhabitant on a scenic journey, a large panoramic lift runs the full height of the building. The exterior of the lift is completely clad in red aluminium and sits within a glass shaft facing Table Mountain.


dhk utilised 2500mm x 1250mm sheets of satin off-white aluminium composite panels (ACP) to wrap the facade. This clearly defines the monolithic appearance with the natural play of sunlight and deep shadows, creating the articulation. Thus, resulting in a definitive contemporary aesthetic. The cladded panels have been staggered within 1200mm grid centres. Whereas the building fenestration is equally staggered but on a wholly separate 1800mm grid. This creates the complex randomised fenestration appearance

Due to the negative space created by the building form wrapping on itself, at the heart of the building is a deep fissure. This deep 30m x 13m space acts as a light chasm. It catches the north light and delivers it down to the lowest floors. At the base is a courtyard which is made up of a white-painted face brick fenestration. As a result, it creates an alternate world inside the building. Furthermore, the rustic textured nature of this area intentionally complements the smooth, sleek external cladding.

Moreover, a highly reflective aluminium material wraps the bottom escape staircase inside the courtyard. It emulates a mirror and encourages residents to look up.

Greater Urban Strategy

The building, named Axis, complements the suburb’s greater urban strategy; it creates a series of public, semi-public and private spaces and urban courts. Therefore, the development of challenges ideas associated with apartment living. The forecourt and arrival space is a public urban plaza. It is fed by routes along the precinct’s pedestrian network and leads into the building’s courtyard. Therefore, forming a chasm of sort

In conclusion, Axis is the latest development in the vibrant Bridgeways Precinct in Century City. Other developments in the area include commercial developments Sable Park and Bridge Park – both also designed by dhk.