V&A Waterfront: Dock House
Name: Dock House, V&A Waterfront
Location: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Status: Completed 2008
Dock House was built circa 1860 as offices and residence for the Victoria and Alfred Basin’s Harbour Master. Its historical significance centres around not only its simple Victorian elegance but also its relationships to other old buildings in the precinct such as Ulundi and more particularly the neighbouring Time Ball Tower whose hoisted and dropped ball indicated the time for the setting of chronometers in the ships harboured in the Basin.
The brief was to plan a luxury boutique hotel in Dock House inserting as many suites as practical to be achieved with due care for the building. Our shared attitude to the renovation was to make contemporary additions but to leave the patina of age on the building. Therefore many of the architraves around the doors are still slightly dented, the walls are not always absolutely smooth and the exposed timber floors retain the marks of time. This, juxtaposed with the contemporary additions, has created an interesting dichotomy where you are aware of being in a grand old building with old world charm but also in a place with an avant garde edge.