Developments News

SA’s first biophilic building meets Cape Town’s first-ever urban street art gallery

An artist's render of The Fynbos.

Demolition at 142 Bree Street in Cape Town has begun, to make way for the first-ever biophilic development in Africa – a 24-storey living, breathing mixed-use building in the heart of the city’s CBD.

However, before clearing the site for construction, the existing derelict building was given a new lease on life, and turned into Cape Town’s first-ever urban street art gallery, boasting over 1000 artworks created by 120 graffiti artists from 30 countries – with the majority being from Cape Town.

Lurra Capital, the developers of The Fynbos, decided to give access to the building – which had already been organically populated with some graffiti – to street artists, and launched The Fynbos Street Art Campaign – officially welcoming graffiti artists to participate in a competition that will see the top five commissioned paint murals over several floors of lift shaft within the new Fynbos building.

Development managers Gardner Property Solutions, who are working with Lurra Capital on the development, says that The Fynbos Street Art Campaign was curated by renowned street artists Christopher MacClements and Juma Mkwela and was an overwhelming success which highlighted the power and impact of street art and graffiti within urban settings. A multitude of street artists worked side by side in a collaborative competition that saw exceptional results – transforming the vandalised building into a work of art.

Biophilic design explained

Various experts in their fields were brought on board to make The Fynbos possible. Botanist, architects, landscape architects, engineers, and sustainability experts are joining forces to give birth to this exceptional development that will redefine inner-city living for Cape Town, South Africa, and Africa as a whole.

Biophilic buildings like The Fynbos incorporate natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements to create a more productive and healthier built environment.

One of the most exceptional sustainable design features at The Fynbos will be its exterior, which will be entirely draped in a 1200m2 vertical garden made up of 30 species of indigenous trees and 20 species of shrub. The pioneering garden system at The Fynbos was designed by a specialist team of technical botanists and will see a specific configuration of vegetation monitored by a highly technical water and nutrient system with automated root scanners, monitored water content and drainage, as well as “flying” gardeners who will manage maintenance externally.

As the first truly biophilic living structure on the continent, The Fynbos – which is currently in the process of achieving Green Star certification from the Green Building Council – will have several innate sustainability features built into it from inception,” explains Paul Upton, head of developments for Dogon Group Properties.

Climate control at The Fynbos, which was designed by architects TwentyEightZeroTwo, will be provided by natural vegetation layers, with the exterior plantings having a cooling effect to provide shade and screening. Water efficiency will be improved through low-flow fittings, well-point filtration, and a sophisticated integrated rainwater harvesting system. Integrated PV solar panels will generate the electricity quota needed to power the common areas, and a central heated water system avoids individual geysers.  These energy savings will be passed back to the owners through reduced levies. Expansive windows and glass sliding doors, utilising specialized double glazing, overlooking panoramic views of mountain and city, will allow in abundant natural light.  The double glazing further reduces the amount of energy spent on heating in winter, and acts as a sound softener.

Sustainable investment

Once completed, The Fynbos will feature 689 apartments, and include a rooftop sunset terrace with lap pool and co-working space, a rooftop fitness centre, as well as a ground-floor plant-based restaurant, a tearoom, and a botanical bar.

Apartments within this development are priced to appeal to a diverse audience. “The luxury studio units start at R999 000 and range in size from 24 square metres up to 40 square metres.  The one bedroomed apartments start at R1,632 million and range in size from 34 square metres up to 58 square metres, whilst the two bedroomed apartments start at R4,920 million and range in size up to 82 square metres,” says Upton. 

Excitingly, we are seeing a surge in demand for short term rentals in Cape Town as tourism returns to pre-Covid levels, and with this we are seeing good rental returns on apartments within the city. Despite inflation and rising interest rates, generous short term vacation rentals help landlords recoup expenses“.

Upton explains that apartments at The Fynbos can be put into a managed rental pool and the rental return projections, based on current yield and factoring in the costs of ownership versus expected average monthly rental income, show a net income per annum of a 24 square metre studio to be R165 600 – a yield of 15%, whilst a 35 square metre one bed apartment will offer a net income of R182 088 per annum – a net yield of 11,3%

The Fynbos, once complete, will be a living, breathing building which blurs the lines between nature and the built environment – the first biophilic building on the African continent.  It is in the beating heart of Cape Town amidst some of the trendiest boutiques, eateries, galleries, theatres, and bars and is only a few minutes from the V&A Waterfront, Green Point Stadium, and Atlantic Seaboard beaches.  We have had high interest and demand for the apartments within this unique and truly iconic development, which blends best-of-breed sustainability principles with iconic architecture and on-trend detailing – designed to be extraordinary in every way – right down to the stunning urban street art that will feature proudly at The Fynbos”, concludes Alexa Horne, Managing Director of Dogon Group Properties, sales agents for The Fynbos.