Building plans

One of the earliest elevation plans of the Naspers Centre that was recently found dates back to around 1972.

We’ve had many enquiries from potential competition entrants who are looking for section and elevation plans of the Naspers Centre. While the history of the building is well-documented, during our research we were surprised to find that few elevation plans exist in the archives. Until now.

Recently we spent around three hours at the City of Cape Town’s planning and development department on a mission to find the answer to our most frequently asked question to date. The method was to scrutinise around 250 microfiche slides of the building’s plans submitted to the Council over the years. It was a fascinating exercise, even for a lay-person whose training and expertise lies outside of architecture or construction.

The earliest plans we found dated back to around 1972, a decade after the building was built. While no longer extensively used, microfiche technology has a way of capturing the history of a building’s design, showing each crumple in the drawing’s edge and each off-centre image. The designs we saw through the grainy screen were meticulously hand-drawn, some with annotations, others were simply lines on a page.

By the last half-hour, one of the very helpful staff members connected the dots from one revision drawing to the original plan number. This helped to draw out more floor plans and services design diagrams. But eventually, lying at the bottom of the pile, was the image we can bring to you today. This is one of just two meaningful elevation images of the building we could find.

Interestingly, this image shows two squash courts on the top floor, and three floors of parking underground. Today, there’s no trace of the squash courts and the underground parking is – to quote a Media24 staff member – “a dark, cavernous, scary storage space.” In addition, the drawing we’re sharing with you shows only 22-storeys, and not 26-storeys, which is as the building stands today.

If you’re an architect reading this and you were involved in the building’s original design, or if you know the history of the building’s plan revisions, we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, if you’re using this elevation diagram, please remember that Design24 is seeking concept proposals only. Our technical teams will assess your proposals for accuracy when they are reviewing the submissions. So please, let your imagination and creativity flow. We will ensure the details are sufficiently technically accurate to ensure a successful implementation.

See the plan below (click to enlarge):


Discuss this story

  • Gavin Smitsdorp
    December 21st 2013

    07:16 AM

    I hope the judges will look at a timeless rather than flaky +flash

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