South African Heritage Day, celebrated on the 24th of September each year, is a vibrant and culturally significant occasion that pays homage to the rich tapestry of South Africa's diverse heritage. Throughout the month of September, we embrace the country's rich history, its multitude of traditions, languages, and cultures that have woven together to create a unique South African identity. Not only is South Africa's heritage embraced and embodied by the people, but in our country's historical architecture. Join us on this blog as we delve deeper into One Thibault's history as a heritage building based in Cape Town's City Centre.
About Heritage Buildings
Any South African structure older than 60 years old is protected by the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999. These buildings are places in a database, ensuring the preservation of South Africa's cultural and architectural heritage. The identification, protection and maintenance of these heritage sites are done to make sure that they are promoted and conserved for generations to come. Owning a heritage site also adds tremendous value to the property.
Heritage sites are graded and divided into different categories to determine their importance, and which authority will manage it. Heritage buildings in the Western Cape province are managed by Heritage Western Cape (HWC), who are local authorities that manage and maintain these sites.
To renovate or make any changes to sites, permission from the HWC must be granted. Heritage sites must request permission for any of the following activity:
Any activity involving the altering, demolition, excavation or defacing of the whole structure or any part of it
Altering or removing the site from its original position
Subdividing or changing the planning status of the area
Designed by the late renowned South African Architect, Revel Fox, construction for One Thibault began in 1969. The building took three years to complete and officially opened its doors in 1972. A defining feature in Cape Town's skyline, One Thibault has gone through many name changes and is recognizable to some as The BP Tower or The LG Building. Today, it is mostly recognized as the building with the Standard Bank sign on top.
One Thibault currently stands at 423 ft (approximately 128 metres tall), with 32 stories. It was the tallest building in the Central City until the Portside Building in Bree Street, opened its doors in 2014. The building's architecture has been lauded by many, winning a medal in 1973 for being the best example of architecture in the Western Cape province.
The tower is sits at a 45-degree twist to the rectangular grid of the surrounding streets. This angle places the building on a north-south axis, which helps to reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the building walls. As a result, it lowers the need for air conditioning and saves on energy costs. This angle also enables views of either the harbour or across the City Centre towards Table Mountain, giving occupants a unique outlook between neighbouring buildings, rather than directly at them.
To shield the windows from direct sunlight, a precast screen mounted is mounted onto every floor of the tower. These screens stand away from the sides of the building, allowing air to flow behind them and reflect additional light inside while cutting off the sun's direct rays. The building's facade is made of grey stone that matches the granite found on Table Mountain.