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NSRI Station 3 Boathouse

V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

2020 - Concept

The NSRI Boatshed has always been an point of interest in the precinct of the V&A Waterfront, as an element of a working harbour. The arrival of the new ORC class 1 rescue vessel required a concept proposal for a new boat house and a renovation of the existing Station 3 premises. The proposed design offers a large display shopfront to attract passers-by. Prominence in this location aids awareness of the NSRI brand and magnifies fundraising efforts.

The entrance to the building is through a discreet door on the side of the shed. The arrival experience is made powerful by a generous timber platform that allows for a direct view of the impressive new rescue boat. The enlarged NSRI shop features a grand viewing window that looks through to the inside of the boatshed, to pique the interest of people shopping.

The design of the boatshed allows for public viewing from the pedestrian avenue. There is a built-in bench on the front of the building which activates the façade and enriches the urban landscape. Metal cladding forms the main envelope of the boatshed with punctured openings at key locations to show off the new ORC inside. Skylights in the roof allow extra light into the space.

The control room is located up in the roof space of the boatshed. The station commander’s desk will have views of Port Control, the slipway and general harbour activities as well as down into the inner boatshed and shop. The space is provided with standard sized workstations, a chartwork table and office storage. A viewing deck outside the control room enables communication down to the boat on the slipway when necessary. Rope access training can be done off the control room platform thanks to strong anchor points along the steel beam that support the handrail inside the shed.

It was proposed that the existing mezzanine level be removed from the inside of the crew training room to create a more voluminous space. A new ceiling with better lighting and a crew kitchenette is required. The proposed layout can accommodate 50 people.

This was a challenging site to work within. It has an extremely tight envelope. Creative solutions were provided to accommodate the complex program of an operational search and rescue base.


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