South Africa is home to a number of innovative modern buildings, from the pretty Bosjes Chapel to the country’s first biophilic building, The Fynbos.

modern buildings in south africa

Cities like Dubai, Hong Kong, New York, Berlin and Shanghai are famous for their spectacular modern architecture – but there are plenty of impressive modern buildings in South Africa too!


1. Bosjes Chapel, Wellington

bosjes chapel

Source: Southern Vines


This elegant chapel was recently completed on the Bosjes Wine Farm in Wellington. Steyn Studio, the designer of the chapel, said it was designed to emulate the surrounding mountains. The reflective pools in front of the structure add to the impression of weightlessness.


2. The Leonardo, Johannesburg

the leonardo

Source: Legacy Living


At 234 metres, The Leonardo in Sandton is the tallest building in Africa. It will be the second tallest when the Iconic Tower in Egypt is completed in 2022.


The mixed-use building is instantly recognisable by its grid-like façade. It houses luxury apartments and penthouses, swimming pools and restaurants.


3. Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, Limpopo


Source: ArchDaily


The Interpretation Centre is a beautiful stone structure in Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo. The building, designed by Peter Rich Architects, is the park visitors’ centre where tourists can learn about the area’s history and view artefacts.


The surrounding rocky landscape served as inspiration for the building’s shape and a source of construction materials.


4. The Fynbos, Cape Town

the fynbos

Source: The Fynbos


Once completed, The Fynbos will be Africa’s first biophilic building. Biophilic buildings use natural light and ventilation, landscaping and other elements to connect occupants closely to nature.


The building, which is being built in Bree Street, was designed by architects TwentyEightZeroTwo. It will house 689 apartments, a roof terrace with lap pool, co-working spaces, a fitness centre, a plant-based restaurant, a tearoom and botanical bar.


5. The Soweto Theatre, Soweto

soweto theatre

Source: ArchDaily


For many years, no official venue in the area meant theatrical performances in Soweto were nomadic and spontaneous events. The Soweto Theatre was created to be an accessible space for performances of all types.


The theatre was designed by Afritects to make the community feel welcome and comfortable. The complex hosts theatre and musical performances, conferences, festivals and community gatherings.


6. The Constitutional Court, Johannesburg

constitutional court

Source: Constitution Hill


The Constitutional Court of South Africa makes up part of this must-see complex in Johannesburg. The building on Constitution Hill combines old elements of the site with modern architecture to create an uplifting and inspiring space.


The building, which also houses the Constitutional Court Library and a collection of modern South African art, was designed by OMM Design Workshop in collaboration with Urban Solutions.


7. AFGRI Head Office, Pretoria

afgri head office

Source: Archello


AFGRI’s new head office, designed by Paragon Architects, pays tribute to the sculptural side of Brazilian modernism. The soft and flowing form of the building was designed to be visually appealing to the surrounding residents and motorists on the nearby highway.


The first building of many in a new office park offers a spacious and light-filled interior with two joined pavilions of offices.


8. Alice Lane Towers, Johannesburg

alice lane towers

Source: Collab Cubed


Alice Lane Towers (previously known as the Dancing Towers) was completed in 2010 on the western edge of Sandton.


The structure has a six-storey base with two 16-storey towers on top. The project, designed by Paragon Architects, incorporated glass technology that had never been used in South Africa before.


9. The Big Pineapple House, Bathurst

the big pineapple house

Source: Safari Now


This landmark is officially the largest artificial pineapple in the world. The 16.7-metre building is a tribute to the fruits that have been harvested in Bathurst since 1865 when the first pineapple top was planted.


The fruit-shaped building houses a gift shop, information centre about the pineapple industry in the Eastern Cape and an observation deck that offers 360° views of the surrounding farmlands.


10. Cave Suites, Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve

cave suites

Source: Safari Now


Cave dwelling is far from modern but it took 21st-century ingenuity to create the man-made cave suites at the Kagga Kamma Game Reserve. They’re built into the sandstone rock formations and offer stunning views from private terraces.


11. 11 Diagonal Street, Johannesburg

the diamond

Source: Dreamstime


Its reflective surface and shape have earned the office building at 11 Diagonal Street the nickname The Diamond. The building, designed by architect Helmut Jahn, was completed in 1984 and is 80 metres high.


12. 88 on Field, Durban

88 on field

Source: Delta Fund


This 25-storey skyscraper has been the tallest building in Durban since it was completed in 1985. It has entrances on two streets and was initially called 362 West Street, but was later changed to 88 on Field.


13. Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town

zeitz mocaa

Source: Architectural Digest


As part of the refurbishment of the Silo District in Cape Town’s Waterfront, an abandoned grain silo was gutted and reinforced to create this breath-taking building. The Zeitz MOCAA and a hotel were built inside and around the original structure.


14. Ocean View, Strand

ocean view

Source: Strand Beach Apartments


The sail-like Ocean View building on Strand’s Golden Mile offers unspoiled views of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountains to anyone renting one of the apartments.


15. Zero-2-One Tower

zero 2 one

Source: Cape Town Etc.


When it’s built, the Zero-2-One building will be the tallest skyscraper in Cape Town’s CBD. The 42-storey structure will be home to more than 640 apartments, some of which will be “affordable” housing.


It will include a viewing deck with 360° views of the city. No date has yet been set for construction to begin.


At XtraSpace, we’re not architects or building specialists – but we love clever uses of space. Our self-storage facilities are part of the landscape in and around South Africa’s major cities and towns. If you need affordable, secure storage space, contact us for more information or browse to find a branch near you.


Contact us