R130m Claremont building officially opened

Attending The Citadel opening were, from left, Springbok rugby player Siya Kolisi and his wife Rachel Kolisi, Catherine and Jonathan Horn.

With Springbok rugby players and the cream of Cape Town society in attendance, the R130 million The Citadel building in Claremont was officially opened amid great fanfare on Wednesday October 19.

The building is the new head office of wealth management business Citadel.

Located in the heart of Claremont, next to Cavendish Square shopping centre, The Citadel comprises a six-storey, four-star green building, with four basement parking levels below.

The two street facades are clad entirely in pale Namibian granite and give the building an ultramodern form.

Guests rubbed shoulders with former and current Springboks Jean de Villiers, Siya Kolisi and Frans Malherbe as they enjoyed canapes and drinks before the official unveiling of the building by Jonathan Hertz, chief executive of the Peregrine Group, Citadel’s parent company.

Mr De Villiers, the former Springbok captain who was recently named a Citadel brand ambassador, told the Tatler he was still adjusting to his new role.

“It’s obviously very different from what I’m used to, but I’m enjoying it,” he said.

“I am travelling a lot due to my business commitments and working as an analyst for SuperSport. It is a big change for me.”

The Citadel targets the efficient use of water and limits the impact of the building’s emissions such as light pollution and ozone depletion.

From an interior environmental quality perspective, comfort factors such as external views and glare control are taken into account.

Ongoing assessment from the design, through the construction phase until completion has seen The Citadel being awarded a 4-Star rating.

Robert Silke & Partners’ Jessica White carried out the interior design for Citadel’s internal areas and most of its sub-tenancies. Picking up from the stone facade, marbles and warm metals on the public ground floor give way to an oak-treaded helical staircase up to a softer, warmer “club” environment upstairs.

With predominantly wooden flooring, the first floor offers panoramic views of Table Mountain over the tree canopies.

The area is intended to evoke a tree-house or club-house feeling, with a sense of belonging. A well-sized break-out area downstairs leads to a private entertainment courtyard and an impressive 140-seat raked auditorium.

The interiors are, like the facade, distinctively modern in form but traditional in material and substance. Leathers, marbles and coppers are used, while seating is svelte and sophisticated.

Robert Silke, architect and principal of Robert Silke & Partners, said it was always in the back of his mind that a financial institution should convey that a business had been around for a long time, but also that it would be around for a long time to come.

“I believe that this building says that. For millennia, great societies have erected stone citadels – from Jerusalem to Beijing and from Rome to Babylon. And when citadels are commissioned, they are more often than not erected from solid stone. For this Citadel, we have chosen the most durable stone, granite, which is cheaper than glass in this economic climate.”

Citadel chief executive Andrew Moller said the company was “delighted with their new home”.

“The building has been created on a very tight budget – as careful fund managers we ensured expenses were controlled. All 12 000m² of The Citadel were constructed for a modest R130 million, equating to a construction cost of just over
R10000m² – at a time when developers are struggling to build for between R15 000 to R20000m².

“Cape Town is part of the 100 Resilient Cities challenge and contributing towards climate and city resilience was an important element of the building design.”