Name: The Barracks
Location: 50 Bree Street, Cape Town
Status: In Progress, nearing completion 2023
Our practice was appointed to develop the historic warehouse on the corner of Strand and Bree Street in Cape Town, adjacent to the Lutheran Church complex. Originally a Dutch warehouse building granted to Martin Melck in 1764 to be used as wine storage warehouses. By 1774, Melck granted the Lutheran community permission to occupy around a third of the block, built as a ‘warehouse’ and used by the Lutheran community as a place of worship.
Further in its history, the building was known to be used for various military functions; in circa 1782 it housed the Luxemburg regiment, years later it was home to the Meuron regiment, in 1808 the building was recorded to function as a ‘sea hospital’ before its use as a military depot in 1827 prior to returning to private ownership by 1834; hence the name, “The Barracks.”
Honouring the old whilst embracing the new; we worked to restore the remaining fabric of the historic warehouse to its original design whilst juxtaposing the historic building against a contemporary counterpart above.
From the larger concept through to its details, the remnants of the old building are celebrated by exposing the old floors and beams and re-establishing ground floor openings to approximate those of the Elliott photograph of the building of c1880. The new building is separated from the old by a gasket of space and supported by setback columns, allowing the new building to float above the old.
A primary conceptual idea was to link Bree Street, through the old building to the Lutheran Church courtyard. This makes visual access to the historical fabric available to all and initiates the potential to energise midblock courtyards which abound in Cape Town.
Set back from Strand Street, the building echoes the sloping roof plane of the adjacent Lutheran church whilst simultaneously allowing an uninterrupted view of the Lutheran Church group along Strand Street. The old building accommodates commercial space whilst the new building is apartments with a roof top spa.
Click the image for additional detail on the Barracks building;
its history, design process & construction