16 on Bree, Cape Town, South Africa

Aurecon engineers 16 on Bree for a lifestyle like no other.

Situated on the Cape Town foreshore, 16 on Bree is the tallest residential and second tallest building developed in Cape Town in the last 20 years.

Aurecon’s client, FWJK Developments, conceived the development as an iconic high-rise to meet the demand in the market for quality residential apartments. The main attractions of the development are its height and location, offering residents unrivalled views of Cape Town’s natural beauty, while still being in walking distance to the V&A Waterfront commercial hub and the CBD.

Aurecon was appointed as the civil and structural engineer on the project, responsible for designing the tall building and ensuring the harmonisation of architectural and functional intent.

Overcoming the challenge of height

FWJK Developments faced challenges in obtaining the necessary development approvals for the site, due to an existent historic structure at ground level and the limitation of available parking on the street.

Retaining the historic facade

In order to retain the 12 m historic façade at ground level, Aurecon designed innovative construction solutions to fit within the project budget and timeframe.

A steel bracing system, with large counterweights on the street side, stabilised the façade wall allowing uninterrupted construction of the building while the wall was kept safely in place. Once the parking levels behind the wall were built, the wall was tied into the concrete floors using movement compensating connections, allowing the steel bracing to be removed.

Retaining the heritage façade creates an eye-level experience that blends in seamlessly with the surrounding area.

Using design-led thinking

Aurecon incorporated design-led thinking principles for creative problem solving to engineer 16 on Bree. The engineering team focused on how people would use and interact with the space to develop the designs for a magnificent and enticing tall building. The process was undertaken in collaboration with FWJK Developments, the architect and builder to stay true to the architectural intent, while meeting the desired construction methodology.

Designing for the building occupants

To be able to accommodate the required number of parking spaces within the building’s footprint, Aurecon had to design a compressed central lift and stair core for the building; an alternative to the decentralised lift and stair core on traditional tall buildings. The innovative solution met the required number of car parking bays while ensuring the spectacular views from each apartment remained.

However, to any action, there’s always a reaction, and designing the central lift and stair core meant that the lateral structural stability of the building had to be re-engineered.

Aurecon designed additional stiffening to the building using both conventional and offset outriggers as a means of reducing wind drift and vibrations. This unconventional approach required Aurecon to collaborate closely with the architect to rearrange some of the apartment levels. It meant that the building could accommodate the outrigger wall locations. One such change was redesigning the originally-planned circulation corridors on each level, so that apartment entries instead face the lift lobbies.

This engineering feat was achieved by Aurecon using digital engineering tools to conduct parametric studies, which allowed the design team to nominate parameters for evaluation, define the parameter range, specify the design constraints and analyse the results of each parameter variation. The studies optimised the number and position of the outriggers to mitigate the effects of stabilisation and vibration from the central lift and stair core option.

At full occupancy, more than 1 000 people will live at 16 on Bree and enjoy two storeys of curated retail space in the building.

Completed in 2020, Aurecon made a significant contribution to bringing the concept for this prestigious landmark to life, giving its residents and visitors a lifestyle like no other in the tallest residential building in Cape Town.

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