Work starts on Cape Convention Centre

Posted On Wednesday, 25 July 2001 03:01 Published by
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THE WBHO/Rainbow joint venture has started work on one of the country's most prestigious

THE WBHO/Rainbow joint venture has started work on one of the country's most prestigious
contracts, the construction of the R500 million Cape Town International Convention Centre.
The design team, which was chosen after a competition, is made up of a consortium of members known
as Foreshore Architects, led by Revel Fox.
Located on the Foreshore bounded by the Foreshore Freeway, Coen Steytler and the Hereengracht,
the centre will be finished to the highest international standards. The site is divided into two
sections by Long Street extension which runs into Convention Square, a new public space at the
heart of the project.
On one side of Long Street is the main exhibition hall, the entrance foyer as well as subdivisible
breakaway meeting areas, restaurants and a 620 seat auditorium. On the other side of Long Street
is the main 1 500 seat auditorium and a 500 bedroomed deluxe hotel. The main ballroom spans over
Long Street and the whole complex is connected together by a Gallery walkway which runs through the
heart of the project some six metres above ground level.
The exhibition hall is 150m long and covered by a structural steel roof spanning 75m and up to 16m
from floor to underside of the roof. This area can be divided into five separate exhibition halls.
The exhibition hall floor is designed to carry heavy loadings so that large trucks can enter the
exhibition space in order to set up the relevant exhibits. Cable ducts are accommodated in this
floor slab so that exhibits can easily be provided with the necessary services. A service yard lies
to the North of the building underneath the Foreshore Freeway.
The exhibition area is above a parking basement which also houses plant rooms and all the back of
house facilities needed to run major exhibitions and large banquets.
An interesting feature of the project is the extension of the Roggebaai Canal from the V&A
Waterfront to Convention Square. On either side of this square lie the main entrances to the
Convention Centre and the hotel. It will be possible for hotel guests and conference delegates to
step onto water taxis that will ferry them via the canal into the heart of the V&A which adds
tourist appeal to the centre.
The Breakaway buildings lie between the exhibition hall and Coen Steytler. This façade will be
dominated by structural steel and glass designed to invite guests into the building. Bus and taxi
offloading bays will be provided along the length of Coen Steytler and the design allows guests to
move directly from public transport into the building.
According to WBHO/Rainbow's Ray Gamble, the project presents the joint venture with several major
challenges, not the least of which is meeting the high international standards of finish which will
attract the right international business response. The site is also confined as it is surrounded by
roads and existing buildings with the result that working space is restricted. Minimal disruption
to surrounding businesses and roads is anticipated throughout the contract period.
Furthermore the joint venture has undertaken to achieve 40% affirmative action involvement and will
be utilising the team which successfully completed the Grandwest Casino and Entertainment World.
In order to achieve these high targets, on site training will be provided throughout the project.
The WBHO/Rainbow joint venture was chosen from five joint ventures which included South Africa's
leading contractors who all submitted bids of a high standard for the project. The WBHO/Rainbow
joint venture's ability to demonstrate the requisite level of management skills, the necessary
quality and quantity of their resources, their financial soundness, appropriate empowerment,
competitive pricing and an approach methodology appropriate to this project were important
The Cape Town International Convention Centre is a significant investment in the future of the
province and is expected to generate 47 000 new direct and indirect jobs within 10 years after it
opens in August 2003. Already the decision to build the Convention Centre has lead to a decision
to complete the Foreshore Freeway which has long stood as an embarrassment to the City. Several
other large projects are expected to be started in the vicinity of the Convention Centre in the
near future and it is expected to act as a catalyst for development in this area.

Publisher: Cape Business News
Source: Cape Business News

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