Behind the design

TECHNICAL PLANTING DESIGN

How do we ensure our 1200m2 vertical gardens are a success?

It all comes down to the specific configuration of the vegetation and the highly technical water system; both of which are inspired by nature, informed by global best practise, and backed by research, testing and protocols. The pioneering system at The Fynbos was fastidiously designed and implemented by a specialist team of technical botanists headed up by Donovan Gillman who has over 45 years growing plants in difficult locations across Africa. Together they had the right contacts, knowledge, experience and global awareness to bring the concept to life.

DESIGN IN TUNE WITH NATURE

100% indigenous to the Cape, each plant is considered for aesthetic and resilience. The look is green, leafy and geometric. The schematic for how the plants are placed across the structure follows the working in-situ example of Table Mountain with trees at the base and lower profile shrubs and cascading plants towards the top. Inside views are tidy and neat, while outside the canopy drapes the entire building. The internal street within the building mimics root growth and circular waterfalls created by cracks in quarry ravines. Rockwork is inspired by Japanese masters. Large hangers effectively create an upside-down tree that screens the upper levels. Daylight is simulated and articulated through the leaves.

Technical detailing is based on lessons from international precedent and biophilic research. Trees are anchored in place to survive gusts. Bigger planters contain rootspread and effectively “bonsai” the trees. A wind study identified crevices where more elaborate planters can be sheltered.

All plant support and nutrients are automated with sensors across the system, including root scanners that monitor growth. Flying gardeners manage maintenance externally. A triple back-up water system provides an unbroken supply with carefully monitored drainage.

The Fynbos is a blend between what is possible, practical and in line with our philosophy.

SUSTAINABILITY CREDENTIALS

What makes this an authentically green building?

As the first truly biophilic living structure on the continent, The Fynbos has several innate sustainability factors built into it from inception. To validate this industry-leading status, the property will be pursuing a formal Green Star Certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa.

The biophilic concept centres on integrating nature into the urban setting and, in that way, regenerating and restoring the city. As such, it benefits both external and internal environments. Designed for higher density living, the multi-storey building curbs urban sprawl. Sited for efficiency, the central location cuts down transport and provides access to various modes of public transport. Operations and building management are streamlined.

Climate control is provided by natural layers. Exterior plantings have a cooling effect and provide shade and screening. Water efficiency is improved through low-flow fittings and a central heated water system allows for economies of scale and avoids individual geysers. A sophisticated rainwater harvesting system is integrated into the unique balcony design. Electricity is partially supplied by solar, minimising fossil fuel consumption. Vegetation is a soft, absorptive barrier that assists in natural noise reduction. Plants absorb harmful chemicals and clean the air. Living and working in close proximity to growing greenery is proven to reduce stress levels in those using and moving around the building.

The Fynbos becomes a city asset that improves the environmental quality and makes a built statement about sustainability.