Durban Timber Skyscraper by A4AC Architects | homify
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Durban Timber Skyscraper

Grafting is a technique whereby tissues from one plant are

inserted into those of another to enable two sets of vascular tissues to join together. In order to ensure a successful merge, one or both elements have to be cut or altered.

This analogy of grafting was used for the conceptualization of the timber skyscraper building. The building is grafted into the city fabric by the cutting and shaping of the building mass in order to form a successful merge with its context and surroundings. Cultural elements added to the building-graft act as a catalytic agent which sparks the merge and integration between the urban environment and the housing component of the building.

The role and importance of sporting activities in the city of Durban is evident—also noting that the city is aiming to host the 2020 Olympics. Spaces to accommodate sport activities are therefore inserted into the building in order to act as cultural condensers, social and breathing spaces.

A taxi rank adjacent to the site is currently spilling over onto the site, creating an existing condition which can be utilised. The bottom floors therefor accommodate a taxi rank and a spice market which further strengthens the merging effect between the city and the building. The typical Durban amenity – a spice market—is located above the taxi rank and provides the public and building occupants with a semi-public communal meeting space.

Current trends in tall-timber construction explore timber as either a construction material for loadbearing walls or a material for tall frame construction methods. The proposed design explores the merge of both these methods by proposing two parallel mass walls with vierendeel trusses spanning between the walls. The mass walls are constructed by stacked timber logs which provide for a ventilated mass wall. With the vierendeel trusses placed on every second floor level and the floor joists being both suspended from and supported by the trusses, two plan types emerge from this structural configuration—an organic plan and a rigid plan. This brings a unique character to each floor arrangement– a rare characteristic in mass housing.

The use of local timber, as well as the added cultural and sport functions make this building a truly African skyscraper. The occupants who will live in these spaces and appropriate them will add to the contextual nature of the building as an unusual form of material and infrastructure.

  • Outdoor sport space by A4AC Architects Modern Wood Wood effect

    Outdoor sport space

  • Exterior perspective by A4AC Architects Modern

    Exterior perspective

  • Sectional slices: modern  by A4AC Architects, Modern

    Sectional slices

  • Plan A: modern  by A4AC Architects, Modern

    Plan A

  • Site plan: modern  by A4AC Architects, Modern

    Site plan

    Editors’ Ideabooks with this photo
    Ideabooks: 1
    ["KR"] [Published] 예비 건축주가 꼭 알아두면 좋은 건축도면 일곱 가지
  • Exploded perspective by A4AC Architects Modern

    Exploded perspective

  • Exploded axonometric: modern  by A4AC Architects, Modern

    Exploded axonometric

  • Concept diagram: modern  by A4AC Architects, Modern

    Concept diagram