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Tsogo Sun SunSquare StayEasy Hotels 

A design rooted in its location


Occupying an entire city block in Cape Town’s central business district, this 20-storey landmark tower for Green Willow Properties provides a dual brand development comprising a 200-bedroom SunSquare hotel and 300-bedroom StayEasy hotel. The building features rooftop leisure facilities including a swimming pool, gym, lounge bar and terrace to maximise the spectacular views of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and the water front. 

At ground level, retail units, a restaurant and bar create an active street frontage on Bree Street and Strand Street. The historically important Tothill’s building is to be retained and renovated into retail space with its Victorian canopy and balconies reinstated. The bulk of the development is newbuild, creating a landmark tower which subtly differentiates the two hotel brands in its distinctive multi-layered profile with ceramic clad elevations.

We were selected following a design competition with a scheme which responds to the streetscape of the building’s heritage-rich location. The top of the hotel creates a distinctive profile while addressing the taller scale of buildings fronting Strand Street. The middle expresses the rhythm and proportions of the typical Bree and Buitengracht Street buildings. The base responds to the scale of the pedestrian, with canopies, active frontages and typical street block diversity.

The Tsogo Sun Hotel Complex in Cape Town is a return to my country of birth building on our extensive experience of working in the region.  I am incredibly excited about the design which reflects a merging of the best in global architectural trends with a quintessential African feel.

Dexter Moren Partner at Studio Moren

The new scheme is sensitive to the massing of the Tothill’s building and the neighbouring Lutheran Church complex. The hotel development creates a base level consistent with the roof line of the Tothill’s building and the tallest element of the development will act to complement the scale of typical buildings along Strand Street while being set back from the Lutheran Church.

We responded to site and wider area conditions using principles of passive design. The shape of the building is designed to maintain the natural light reaching the streets in this unique city block development. This approach protects the trees surrounding the site, sustaining the greenery and ecology in the city and providing natural shading in the summer. 

In contrast to the fully glazed facade approach, windows are located within a generally solid façade to optimise views while maintaining a passively sustainable building envelope. These windows also feature double glazing with SolarVue solar control glazing, limiting heat loads on the building and heat losses in the colder periods of the year and providing a valuable acoustic barrier to traffic and wind noise. The brick work used on the facade and internally also has the dual benefit of having a high thermal mass. This both absorbs and releases heat energy keeping the building cool, while the tiling which is part of a 'rain screen' cladding system, acts as a solar shade.

Projecting canopies at street level provide further shading for pedestrians and the glazed shopfronts at street level, reducing the demands on artificial cooling. In contrast, at roof level, a swimming pool and associated roof-deck have been located to optimise solar exposure where it is most appreciated.

Spaces that don’t require artificial cooling, such as the carpark, are designed to benefit from natural cross-ventilation, achieved by the use of a perforated brick facade. As well as allowing natural air circulation, the brickwork creates an elegant visual screen to the street which provides an interesting animated facade when backlit at night.

Materials were selected from South African manufacturers where possible. The facade bricks are produced by a South African company with environmental certifications and a sustainable agenda both in respect of local material and local employment. Materials have also been selected to withstand climatic conditions prolonging the endurance and life cycle of the building. 

Awards and nominations

  • Building Design
    Architect of the Year (Retail & Leisure)
    Tsogo Sun SunSquare & StayEasy Hotels
  • Building Design
    Architect of the Year (Sports and Leisure)
    Tsogo Sun SunSquare & StayEasy Hotels
Green Willow Properties
Cape Town, South Africa
Completed 2017
200 & 300 keys
Visual by Studio Moren