Just in time for tourist season, renovations to the Castle of Good Hope have come to an end. Not only does this attraction now boast a fresh new look, it also offers greater access to previously unseen areas.
Specialists in the construction, renovation and recycling of buildings, GVK-Siya Zama, have spent the past 22 months restoring South Africa’s oldest building. The seven buildings within the Castle walls have been repainted and have had new carpentry installed. The deteriorated waterproofing on the roofs and ramparts were replaced and the stone moat walls and banks were mended. The project also included the refurbishment of murals by hand, renovations to the Dolphin Pool and specialist plaster repairs.
“The most exciting aspect of all was the discovery and restoration of several heritage spaces,” says GVK-Siya Zama Project Manager Rupert Rademan. “For instance, in one of the first buildings that we tackled, we uncovered a stable which was being used as a storeroom. We cleaned it up and made it look just as it once did. We also renovated the Castle chapel which was in poor condition when we began, but can now be used as a place of reflection.”
He adds: “The project also involved over 1000 additional elements. It was difficult enough to work with materials not commonly used in the last century, but to complete this number of ancillary tasks in the same time period was all the more challenging. However, we overcame this thanks to a dedicated management team and the workers on site together with the extremely knowledgeable architects who guided us.”
The architects, Dr Gabriel Fagan and his wife Dr Gwen Fagan have been involved with the restoration of the Castle and subsequent repair projects since 1968 - making overseeing the preservation of South Africa’s oldest building their lives’ work. Their expertise enabled the GVK-Siya Zama team to accurately capture all of the building’s history.
Rademan shares that the client was impressed with the work and can take full advantage of the spaces now available.
“The Castle is in an improved state which is perfect for the upcoming tourist season. GVK-Siya Zama’s work was good and the project was delivered on time. I would definitely recommend them for future repair and maintenance projects,” says Marius Taljaard from the Department of Public Works.
Calvyn Gilfellan, Chief Executive Officer at the Castle Control Board, says: “We now have a newly renovated Castle that is safer, better looking and has more spaces open to the public.”
All of the refurbishments, together with the installation of a number of wheelchair ramps and two lifts to cater for the differently abled, will ensure that more heritage elements will be accessible and visible to all visitors to this historic site.