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Dowsil Sealants for unique pillow windows of converted old waterfront silo


Dowsil structural glazing sealants, supplied by a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals, were used for the glazing requirements of the converted old silo that now houses the new, acclaimed Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), and the ultra-luxurious The Silo Hotel in Cape Town.

Dowsil structural glazing sealants used at Zeitz MOCAA and The Silo Hotel

a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals is part of the Chryso Southern Africa Group.

The 1921 grain silo that was converted into the impressive museum and hotel is situated at the V&A Waterfront. The building, constructed by WBHO and owned by V&A Waterfront Developments, was commended for its excellence in the use of concrete in 2017’s Fulton Awards. The museum is the largest to open in Africa in over a century.

The state-of-the-art overhaul and redesign of the massive old silo was masterminded by esteemed British industrial designer, Thomas Heatherwick. Part of the silo was raised in height to accommodate The Royal Portfolio’s The Silo Hotel with its striking façade of “pillowed” glass windows, carefully inserted into the geometry of the hotel.

Each hotel window protrudes over a metre, is roughly 5.5 metres tall, and contains 56 triangular glass panels to give the crumpled pillow appearance.

A concrete wall containing similar pillow windows – and green vegetation growing on top – was installed as protection against the elements on the Zeitz MOCAA rooftop sculpture garden. From innovative glazed circles that form the transparent rooftop area’s floor, guests can look down into the massive museum.

a.b.e.® supplied three Dowsil sealants for the glazing of The Silo Hotel and Zeitz MOCAA:

  • Dowsil 895 – for the glazed circles on the Zeitz MOCAA roof; and
  • Dowsil 993 as well as Dowsil 813C – for the glass pillow façade of the hotel as well as the wall of pillowed windows on the Zeitz MOCAA rooftop garden.
  • Dowsil 895, used to seal the glazed circles on the museum’s rooftop sculpture garden, is a single component silicone sealant for structural glazing.
  • Dowsil 993, used for the pillow window sealing, is a two-component silicone sealant able to resist exceptionally high stress levels caused by wind, thermal dilatation and the constant weight of the glass units.

Dowsil 895 used for the glazed circles on the Zeitz MOCAA roof

Also used for the pillow window glazing, Dowsil 813C is a one-part, neutral curing, low-modulus silicone sealant particularly suitable for weather seals, expansion and building joints. It offers durable adhesion to porous and non-porous surfaces, resists ozone and UV radiation as well as extreme temperatures, and can cope with joint movements of up to 50% of neutral joint width.

Mazor Aluminium installed the glazed façade following their appointment by project engineers, ARUP Cape Town. Mazor manufactured all the glazing components locally in Killarney Gardens, Cape Town, using special imported glass. Each window was then transported to site as a single unit, fully glazed, and craned into position where they were sealed with the Dow Corning products.

To manufacture each unit precisely, Mazor constructed a jig to accurately position each piece of steel and aluminium within a 1mm tolerance.

Mazor which has frequently used Dowsil sealants from a.b.e.® for other intricate structural glazing projects, is a Dowsil specialist approved structural silicone applicator and member of the exclusive Dowsil International Quality Bond programme. Quality Bond members are trained and audited by Dowsil to ensure that they comply with the company’s stringent application procedure and a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals ensures that all these quality procedures are met.

Quality Bond members furthermore qualify for a Dow Corning warranty of 250 Euros per square metre, which would cover all costs related to the replacement of faulty sealant. This provides architects and engineers with the assurance that their quality and expertise specifications will be met.

a.b.e.® Construction Chemicals

Tel:+27 (0)86 022 3773

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