No. 3 Silo consists of three independent apartment towers containing 79 high end apartments over 11 floors. The three towers are connected by two steel framed lift and stair cores enclosed in expanded aluminium mesh, providing spectacular views of the harbour and V+A precinct.

Silo 4 essentially forms the base for the apartment towers and contains an upmarket gym facility over two floors. A double volume pool pavilion faces onto Silo Square, with panoramic views of the new Zeitz MOCAA Gallery, Silo Hotel and surrounding Silo District public spaces.

Expressed materiality and appropriate detailing were considerations equally as important as resolving the functional and programmatic requirements of the brief.

The character of the building was developed as an interpretation of the inherent “gees, (or ‘spirit’), of the precinct as part of a working harbour. In response to the surrounding built environment, the team explored further the themes of ‘fit for purpose, working harbour elements’, and in its making exploited the possibilities of composite structures – concrete and steel working together – in order to maximise the clear floor to ceiling dimensions of the apartments. Concrete up or downstand beams were entirely avoided in order to maximise the views out all of the Apartments, bearing in mind the overall height restrictions imposed by the Planning regulations and consents achieved. Furthermore, in order to construct the expansive floor plates, without resorting to more concrete columns and beams, steel framing ‘tied back’ to the central shear concrete cores, is used to assist in accommodating the floor plate cantilever. This ‘additional steel’, has been consciously ‘picked out’ in colours referencing the cranes and other elements of working machinery in the surrounding dock yards.

The cast-in load bearing steel frames primarily consist of 50mm diameter solid carbon steel bars, adjustable custom reverse thread couplers, welded up 230×90 PFC frames, 203x203x46 H columns and intricate welded end plate connections. Solid bars were chosen for the high tension capacity with minimal lengthening when fully loaded and the custom couplers were chosen to allow for tolerance and future adjustability. The Virgin Active steel roof structure is made up of PFC girders and trusses with solid round bar cross bracing. The exposed round bar cross bracing aesthetic was followed through on the external steel stairs, steel lift shaft structures and the external walkway bridge.  

The installation and sequencing of the load bearing steel frames were by far the greatest steel related challenges faced on site. These frames were designed to work compositely with the concrete structure resulting overall in a more slender structure. These frames were installed concurrently with the concrete structure which impacted on sequencing of slab construction, post-tensioning and temporary backpropping. The interface between concrete and steel required works to be highly accurate to achieve the desired aesthetic of exposed steel and raw concrete as well as work compositely as intended. Communication and co-ordination between the architects, structural engineer, main contractor and steel sub-contractor early on in the project was instrumental in achieving this.

The steel components used throughout the building are integral to the building’s structural integrity. This is expressed through the bold use of colour, further highlighting the key ‘elements’ in the structural assembly. Yellow is used on the façade steel elements that support the cantilevering balcony concrete slabs, while red highlights the two circulation cores connecting the three towers.

Cladding materials, including Rheinzink and perforated metal panels were also selected to respond to the harbour industrial shed aesthetic.

The collaboration of consultants, contractors, sub-contractors, specialist advisors and client was integral to the successful completion of No.s 3&4 Silo.

Revit was used as a production tool by all consultants (as was required by the client), and allowed the sharing of a central digital model across all disciplines.

Tons of structural steel used 320.392
Structural profiles used Solid bars, PFCs,H & I sections, angles, cold formed lipped channels

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator Sutherland
Client/ Developer V&A Waterfront
Architect VDMMA & Makeka Design Lab
Structural Engineer Sutherland Engineers
Quantity Surveyor MLC
Project Manager MACE
Main Contractor WBHO
Steelwork Contractor LJ Le Roux Industries
Steel Erector LJ Le Roux Industries
Corrosion Protection
Advanced Galvanizing
Corrosion Protection
Paintwork Contractor
MRH Group
Photographer, Photo competition VDMMA

If you were a part of this project, and your company details are incorrect or missing – please notify the SAISC so that the error can be corrected.