After a 15 year break from all things skyscraper construction has started on what will be Cape Town, South Africa's tallest tower to date.
Named the Portside tower a nod to the seafaring history of the city, it will stand at approximately 148 metres when complete, the tallest tower currently in the city is the Safmarine which is 123 metres tall.
Although not impressive in height by modern standards it is a milestone for the architects of the project Louis Karol, who spent 18 months in negotiations with city officials trying to get the tower approved. The height of the project being a huge issue as no one wants to obscure views of the world famous table mountain, not only a wonder of the world but also the main tourist attraction of the city.
The tower opts for a modern look and is constructed from steel with mainly glazed facades. Rising from street level the tower appears to have a different shape dependant on the angle it is viewed from, from the front it appears square and box like but a sweeping, curved aluminium fašade which runs around the side and back of the tower gives it an ovoid look.
Rising from the ground the tower extends up to an unusual peak consisting of a slanted, lipstick style section and a flat more box top section, reflecting the towers dual appearance.
The facades are stepped almost giving the effect of three very slim towers, the glazed facades also feature a rather unusual dotted design to them, which breaks away from the currently fashionable diagrid pattern made famous by London's Gherkin and now appearing on towers all over the world.
At its base a low-rise portion extends out from the tower again square in shape but also featuring a circular section, the roofs of this lower section feature terraced gardens.
The tower will house 24 Grade A office floors with conference rooms as well as a 5 storey hotel and of course the all important retail therapy component of the project. The tower will offer stunning views of the city and of course their beloved mountain.
All being well the project should be complete by April 2011.