The Newlands Cricket Ground (the NCG) is an international, national, and local treasure that has provided sporting theatre dating back to its inception in 1888. With Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak standing as dramatic backdrops to the theatre of cricket, the NCG is widely regarded as one of the most iconic international cricket grounds in the world.
The NCG is co-owned by Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd and the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA). As a means of bolstering the financial viability of the cricket in the Province, the Co-Owners opted to re-develop the Northern part portion of the property while retaining the iconic stadium as a world-class facility. The first phase of the development was completed in late 2022.
The goal was to design and redevelop the NCG into a sustainable, mixed-use sports, educational and commercial campus. That goal has been achieved with aplomb and the take-up of space has been exceptional.
The Educational Component comprises of AdvTech’s Varsity College (who signed a significant long-term 10 000m2 anchor lease deal involving two of four of new buildings). CPUT leased 3000m2 of educational space for its Sports Management Department, whose facilities include an exciting Sports Performance Laboratory, which caters for rehabilitation and high-performance training & instruction and will reinforce the famous Newlands Precinct’s reputation as a leading international sports science hub.
The Commercial Component is housed in the iconic new glass clad Snakepit Building, which has boldly changed the architectural landscape of the world-famous NCG field. This new building edges the cricket oval and fills in the gap between the Northern Pavilion and the Railway Edge. It is already one of the most televised and photographed buildings in South Africa. Three of its floors have been designed to provide state-of-the-art facilities for WORKSHOP 17 (South Africa’s market leader in the Co-Working space). Two other two floors of this building have been leased to international tenants.
To celebrate the rich cricket history at NCG and within the Western Cape a new Cricket Museum and Memorabilia Store has been designed on the ground level of the Snakepit Building.
To enable the NCG to become a significant player in the Western Cape’s booming Boutique Events and Conferencing market, the Ground Floor Piazza is now flanked by a new 840m2 sub-divisible, Multi-purpose Hall and the new Cricket Museum (which itself has been designed to ensure multi-purpose usage).
To support all this mixed-usage, five levels of structured and basement parking have been constructed, which collectively offer over 800 parking bays.
In re-developing the NCG, the Co-Owners and their design team have successfully crafted an urban precinct taking the impact of this high-profile development well beyond its borders.
Externally, the abiding visitor experience must be the new pedestrian link that finally stitches the east and west sides of this historic precinct together, courtesy of the new pedestrian bridge across the railway line that now links the Campground Road to the famous Brewery and Sports facilities west of the railway line.
Internally, the highlight of the re-developed NCG must be the kilometre-long pedestrianised walkway around the famous field. Spectators, students, tenants, and visitors can now all enjoy the circular concourse that ultimately flows into the new piazza that will soon be surrounded by restaurants and cafes. From there they are able journey up the Heritage Stairs to a central podium from which three of the new commercial and educational buildings as well as the new pedestrian bridge across the railway line can all be accessed.
At all times, these charming pedestrian journeys afford the visitors spaces to pause and enjoy the magnificent views of the field and the mountain. Subtle landscaping, urban furniture, forecourts, kiosks, lighting, and signage all add to the experience.
The juxtaposition between old (industrial structure of the brewery and heritage-protected stadium, the field, and the surrounding Pavilion buildings) and new along this journey, creates real visual interest. All-in-all, the contemporary architectural design of the new buildings and the intersecting visual links to the cricket oval and stadium grandstand, creates a pleasant visitor and user experience.
Spectators and users who are confined to wheelchairs or are differently abled can enjoy facilities designed to make access and experience easier. All entrance gates are accessible via wheelchair, and there are elevators, adapted ablutions, front-of-house reception/security desks and tactile paving solutions that caters for universal accessibility.
The development has achieved its targeted 4-Star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa, under the Green Star SA – Custom Mixed-Use Design rating tool. Various Environmentally Sustainable initiatives have been employed in the development. Together with appropriate passive responses to the various orientated facades of the buildings, using vertical or horizontal sun screening, light shelves and performance glass, water-wise harvesting & drainage systems and greening initiatives have been incorporated into the design.
The development boasts a unique Waste Management Plan, which takes into account, the management of waste sorting, recycling, baling and waste reduction. The plan takes in to account, the way waste is managed both on event and non-event days and encourages on-site and conscious separation of waste by spectators, students, office workers and visitors.