Storing history

2018-02-13 06:01

The former home for documents stored by the Cape Town Archives Repository has been given a second lease on life – while still fulfilling its original purpose.

The building off Queen Victoria Road behind the Centre for the Book, referred to as the Slothsbo Building, has been converted into storage units by a local storage company. The building was originally built to store documents and books for the local government.

“As we were looking for sites in the CBD, it was serendipitous that this particular building became available – while we have obviously upgraded the building for modern storage, it’s great that it is still being used with its original intention in mind,” says StoreSmart owner, Pierre Steenkamp.

“It is actually a heritage building so we had to follow strict guidelines in the renovation process to maintain some of its architectural integrity, which suited us as it was a strong shell for us to work with.”

The building was reportedly used to store archives from around the 1960s to 1980, explains Steenkamp. “Being an original archive building, it served as a great shell to work with – the thick walls and solid structure there was a good base to turn it into a modern storage facility. StoreSmart had the entire building rewired, and state-of-the-art fire equipment and detection systems were installed. It now boasts a fully equipped alarm system, security gate, fencing and CCTV cameras. In addition we included waterproofing and spalling repairs to the entire building. The lift was repaired, as well as downpipes and guttering. A welcoming new reception and office area was built. The outside area of the building had new paving done and all broken windows were repaired,” says ­Steenkamp­.

The building, described as “a solid fortified structure”, was constructed in 1963 – which posed several challenges during the renovation, as care had to be taken to preserve the heritage of the building.

“With the heritage site organisations, we worked together to revive a very dilapidated, vandalised building at the time and restore it to its newfound glory,” says Steenkamp.

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