Thomas Heatherwick leads transformation of Grain Silo Complex

The Royal Portfolio is adding The Silo as its fifth property in South Africa. The hotel is being built in the grain elevator portion of the Grain Silo Complex, above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town. The Silo will open in late 2016.

Industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, London is the architect for the reimagining of the Grain Silo Complex, which combines both the museum and the hotel above it.

Zeitz MOCAA will be a modern art museum, similar to the Tate Modern in London, MoMA in New York and Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid. Zeitz MOCAA is a not-for-profit partnership between the V&A Waterfront and Jochen Zeitz, whose collection forms the Museum’s founding collection.


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Located on the V&A Waterfront and with panoramic views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, The Silo will occupy six floors above the MOCAA. The hotel will have 28 keys, including a penthouse. There will also be a spa, gym, bar and restaurant, as well as a rooftop swimming pool and champagne bar with panoramic views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.

Heatherwick Studio was tasked with the transformation of the elevator house and the adjacent storage annexes of six rows of seven silos. From the outside, the greatest visible change to the building’s original structure will be the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the geometry of the hotel floors, which will bulge outward as if inflated. By night, this will transform the building into a lantern in the harbor.

Each room will be individually designed and decorated by Liz Biden. Eclectic pieces will be included in the property. The nine room categories will be based on room size and views. The rooms will be more spacious vertically than horizontally due to the architecture of The Silo.

The Royal Portfolio was established in 2000, when Liz and Phil Biden converted their family lodge into what is now Royal Malewane. The Royal Portfolio, owned by the Biden family, also operates the Royal Malewane in Kruger National Park, Birkhead House in Hermanus and La Residence in Franschhoek.