CAPE TOWN’S ELECTRICITY HOUSE: A GREEN BUILDING PAINTED GREY

Jan 31, 2019

In 2016 EBESA Architects were contracted to design a depot and office building for Cape Town’s electricity department that would service the city centre’s electrical needs. The building needed to accommodate approximately 200 people, some rather large trucks and office and field workers’ vehicles. As importantly, it needed to be green, falling in line with the City of Cape Town’s drive towards sustainability.

Electricity House is in a dense area on the corners of Buitengracht and Bree Streets in Cape Town’s city centre. Planning for the building was driven by its functional requirements, the green aspects and its wholesale integration into the inner-city fabric. Its two biggest architectural features are the white composite aluminium screen wall areas and the vertical green garden. The multi-purpose screens enclose and ventilate the parking and act as sun protection for the windows on the west façade. The panels are fully recyclable and display a pattern of trees that hint at its environmental contribution to green building. The green wall was introduced as no other greenery exists on the site and links into the roof level gardens. Electricity House has a Five Star Green Star Rating.

In addition to the various materials used to enhance Electricity House’s green star rating, Plascon came on board to assist with low VOC paint specifications that line up with the building’s green requirements. Our value added services included colour sample supply, regular site monitoring in order for the project to qualify for a Product Guarantee, along with continuous collaboration between all parties involved. All products were sourced from the company’s Professional Range which is an innovative quality range of products developed specifically with the professional in mind. For the interior walls Professional Water-based Gypsum Sealer (PGS1) and Superior Low Sheen (PEM1000/TLS) were used. Externally Gypsum and Plaster Primer (PP 700), Professional Low Sheen (PEM1000) and Marroca Coarse Texture (PTX1200) were used. Plascon Architectural Sales Consultant, Llynith Davids said, “Our Marroca Coarse product assisted in creating a uniform textured appearance on the building’s exterior walls.”

Because the building was required to submerge itself within the inner-city fabric, the architect chose the colour Signal Black externally, and a few light grey colours internally. The neutrals selected for the job included architectural New York Square (GR-N02), Manderin Tusk (49) and Geneva Morn (51). More whimsical accent interior colours were green-gold Banana Leaf (Y7-B1-1), and rich yellow Golden Daffodil (Y3-A1-1) which created for pops of interest and a link to the natural world. The interior also featured bright greens to uplift the cementitious industrial appeal within.

About the effect Llynith commented, “The dark walls offset the building’s aluminium screens and vertical gardens perfectly. The result is unmistakably urban yet with a strong green element that reinforces Electricity House’s green star rating.”

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Blending in! Electricity House effortlessly merges with the city’s landscape yet stands out as an icon of green building for Cape Town. Image: Supplied.


Electricity house
With its dark colour and aluminium screens, Electricity House embodies urban design culture to the core. Adding to its trendy exterior, Marroca Coarse textured water-based paint was used to create a textured uniform finish.



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Banana Leaf (Y7-B1-1) was used on the interior accent walls to create a strikingly bold appearance.