Soltis shades the sun in the Silo Hotel

Just like the famous clock tower, the old grain silo was part of the skyline dominating Cape Town’s Harbour. After being abandoned for more than 16 years in the harbour district, the building has been transformed and has become the gem of the Silo district. It accommodates a museum for contemporary African art as well as the Silo Hotel.

To ensure the interior solar protection, the hotel’s spectacular diamond shaped windows have been fitted with Soltis Horizon 86 and Soltis Perform 92. They have been chosen for their ability to be used in large sizes, and their performance in heat protection while having a high transparency factor, allowing the hotel to conserve its spectacular 180-degree panoramic view. 

An innovative concept

When put in service in 1924, the 57 metre tall grain silo stood as the highest building in sub-Saharan Africa. When decommissioned in 2001, its owner V&A Waterfront, sought for a viable concept for the building, which was then given to London-based Heatherwick Studio. The silo consisted of interlinked parts with two main sections: a tower that previously accommodated the equipment for lifting and conveying the grain on top of which the 5-star Silo hotel is perched today. Next to the tower was the circular storage silo itself, which now houses the Zeitz Foundation of contemporary art (MOCAA).

Energy efficient solar control blind fabric by Soltis offers high transparency and thermal comfort

Spectacular diamond shaped windows

Two key changes were made to the hotel’s façade: the magnolia coloured paint was removed, exposing the original supporting concrete skeleton. The original windows were replaced with floor to ceiling, convex-shaped windows measuring 2.6 x 4 metres, supported by diamond shaped structures made of 60 x 15 mm thick profiles. As a result, most of the façade is illuminated at night and therefore resembles an eye-catching beacon in the harbour.

Solar protection blinds used in the bathrooms at the Silo Hotel offer translucency and heat protection

Effective solar protection bringing energy efficiency

Despite the use of vast glass panes, the designers set high energy efficiency levels for this building, which would also require a high level of thermal comfort for the guests. This energy efficiency is achieved by the design of the windows and the white Soltis Screens that provide a high decrease in heat gain. These high end solar protection screens convinced the planners through their heat shield performance, especially with the challenging demands of this location, due to the high temperatures, solar exposition and position on the coast. The extensive Soltis range allowed sun protection to be tailored to the requirements of each room.

Internal blinds in the Silo Hotel lobby are made in Soltis Perform 92 fabrics which offers heat protection and glare-free conditions

In the restaurant and bar it was paramount to keep the view of the harbour and coast unspoiled. Therefore, the architects chose Soltis Horizon 86, which thanks to its unmatched transparency allows a nice view, while ensuring a high level of thermal comfort for the guests. For the lobby and wine cellar, the focus was on an impeccable heat protection. That is why they chose Soltis Perform 92, which in addition offers a glare free and pleasant environment for people working on computers. To protect the office areas in the suites from direct sunlight and offer optimal working conditions in meetings and on multimedia, they were fitted with Soltis Opaque B990 white/white blackout fabric. Soltis has proven how well it works with its worldwide patented Precontraint technology that tensions the material in four directions during the coating phase.

© Synchron Fabrics & Foils, August 2022

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