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Dexter Moren Associates hotel design on exhibition in London

Online since 29.10.2017 • Filed under Professions - Architecture • From Issue 22 page(s) 37-38
Dexter Moren Associates hotel design on exhibition in London

Designed by London-based architectural firm, Dexter Moren Associates (DMA), the new Tsogo Sun in Cape Town was selected for display at this year’s New London Architecture (NLA) exhibition in London, United Kingdom, for their Africa showcase.


The ‘London: Design Capital’ exhibition forms a key part of NLA’s expanding International Dialogues programme, a year-round programme of international conferences, visits and debates to share best practice and foster cross-city dialogue. The exhibition features 220 projects in 65 countries around the world to showcase the global reach of London’s built environment profession. The Tsogo Sun development by DMA is one of 21 projects from Africa showcased.



Celebrating 25 years in business, the firm is a London- based award-winning practice of 60 architecture and interior design specialists, working right across the hospitality spectrum. Having established a global reputation, they practice a design-led ethos of ‘creating places people want to stay’ at the heart of everything they do – underlying a close involvement in the hospitality industry. ‘We provide an individual approach to each project; are

passionate, commercially astute and committed to producing beautiful buildings and interiors that respond to location and context,’ says a company statement. Indeed, Moren’s first hotel was the Marine Parade Holiday Inn on Durban’s North Beach for which he was commissioned at the age of 28.


South African born and London-based Dexter Moren, founding director of DMA and architect for the Tsogo Sun project says: ‘The design of the hotel is a merger of the best in global architectural trends with a quintessential African feel. It was important to us that the design respected Cape Town’s rich heritage.”


‘The site is a prime location in the city bowl and posed some interesting heritage design challenges’, he continues. ‘The top of the hotel has a distinctive profile which works with the taller scale of surrounding buildings on Strand Street. The middle reflects the rhythm and proportions of the typical Bree and Buitengracht Street buildings, while the base has been designed for the pedestrian, with canopies, active frontages and street block diversity.’


The hotel complex covers a full block in the city and accommodates two Tsogo Sun brands – the 200-bedroom SunSquare and 300-bedroom StayEasy hotels.


DMA were selected as the architects for the hotel by Green Willow Properties, owners of the hotel site, after participating in a design competition in 2014, drawing on their experience in hotel design to optimise the efficient and sustainable internal spatial planning of the hotel. The hotel uses the principles of passive design wherever possible to make the most of the specific conditions of the Cape Town site.


Designed to sustain the natural light

The building massing, notably lower scale base and centre block vertical tower, is designed to sustain the natural light reaching all streets in this unique city block development. This approach enhances the existing trees surrounding the site, sustaining the greenery and ecology in the city and providing natural shading in the summer. The design also enabled an additional row of trees on Strand Street.


Projecting canopies at street level further ensure all year weather protection for pedestrians and create solar shading to the extensively glazed shopfronts at street level, protecting them from excess solar gain and reducing the demands on artificial cooling.


In contrast, at roof level, the 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, have been designed to benefit from natural cross-ventilation, achieved using a perforated brick façade. Whilst permitting natural air circulation, the brickwork creates an elegant visual screen to the street which provides an interesting animated façade when backlit at night.


In contrast to the fully glazed facade approach, windows are located within a generally solid façade to optimise focussed views while maintaining a passive building envelope. These windows also feature double glazing with SolarVue solar control glazing, limiting heat loads on the building, 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 which works to both absorb and release heat energy keeping the building cool, whilst the tiling, which is part of a ‘rain screen’ cladding system, acts as a solar shade.


By preserving, renovating and reusing the historic Tothills Building, DMA have also brought life back to this unique building, ensuring it remains a part of the cultural heritage of Cape Town.


‘We were proudly featured in the NLA London Design Capital exhibition to celebrate the capital’s creative minds and breadth of expertise. It showcases a variety of interesting and amazing global projects that are hopefully an inspiration to many in the built environment,’ says Dexter Moren.


Dexter Moren Associates

T          +4420 7267 4440



Issue 22

Issue 22

November 2017

This article was featured on page 37-38 of
To Build Magazine Issue 22.

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