Tag Archives: Cape Town

South Africa: Cape Town’s silos – Interview With Thomas Heatherwick (YouTube)


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The end of the Athlone Cooling Towers in Cape Town

Last Sunday, huge crowds turned out to see the demolition of the Athlone Cooling Towers, something of a landmark on the Cape Flats. There are a lot of videos of the event on the web, but this one, from Silver Bullet Productions, is by far the best I’ve seen.  (And thanks to @GusSilber for the Twitter link.)

Athlone Power Station, Cape Town

In 2006, I wrote about proposals to redevelop the Athlone Power Station.  More than three years later, it’s the the site that is making the first move.  On February 14th, “some concrete rings around one of the towers started falling off”, and engineers fear for their imminent collapse.  The City of Cape Town, owners of the site, have now decided  to demolish the towers within weeks.

Only 48 years old, and therefore not protected under the Heritage Resources Act, it was never very likely that a case was going to be made for retention based on their ‘heritage value’. Undoubtedly a lot of people will be happy to see them go, not least those who have been living in their shadow in Langa all these years, but they undoubtedly do have a ‘landmark value’ in the area.

But the best proposals for adaptive (and environmentally friendly) reuse of the towers have to have come from the pen of local cartoonist Chip Snaddon, and published in the Argus.

Athlone Cooling Towers

from the Cape Argus (p.14) 19-Feb-2010

update:
Plans well underway for demolition of Athlone cooling towers at the end of May