Working to an extremely tight programme, the R485 million Obz Square student residence for the University of Cape Town was completed in November 2011, following a 20 month construction period.

Green Building Principles

The design team were tasked with taking cognisance of evolving sustainability principles, policies and technologies, and to make informed decisions regarding the use of appropriate materials, systems and associated management practices. Careful consideration was given to direct sunlight penetrating the building, and sun-studies were used to optimise the use of sun-screening measures to reduce heat gain. One of the key energy-saving systems in use in the building is a central heat-pump which is located in the basement, and makes use of ambient heat extraction, thereby reducing the amount of energy required to provide heated water, circulated throughout the building.
The residence has been designed to allow for optimum natural light. Where required, energy efficient lighting in the form of compact florescent bulbs have been used. Further, all communal and circulation areas have been fitted with motiondetection sensors, to manage the illumination of these spaces.

It is anticipated that Obz Square will have a positive and revitalising influence on the surrounding area and the greater suburb of Observatory.

Extracts taken from Architect & Builder March/April 2012