Green Designs

Sustainability and the green agenda continue to inform the architecture and design of new developments, says Hugh Fraser.

Fraser is the media manager of architectural firm Paragon Architects, which designed 30 Jellicoe, a striking new office development in Rosebank.

30 Jellicoe was the winner in the corporate office building category at the Steel Awards.

Steel, which, when used appropriately, contributes to sustainable architecture, was used extensively as columns and louvres on the five-storey development.

“The building’s roof is supported on slender steel columns, which give it an elegant aesthetic that sets it apart from its neighbours,” explains Fraser.

“The perception of going green is changing and industry is responding by adopting the green principles. In fact, tenants are amenable to it and in some cases are actually pushing for sustainable developments.”

Fraser adds: “As architects, it is our duty to inform the client about the choices, and to persuade them on the benefits of adopting the green agenda. By and large most clients are receptive to building green.”

The recently completed 30 Jellicoe corporate office is one of many ‘green’ projects that Paragon Architects has in its impressive portfolio, which also includes petrochemicals giant Sasol’s new corporate office located in Sandton.

The 68 000m² building, which will consist of a seven-storey parkade with ten storeys above ground, has reached ground level construction.

As per 5-star rating requirement, the Sasol corporate office aims to push the ‘green’ boundaries: the development consists of high performance glazing, extensive landscaping and park-scapes, a vast atrium with gigantic skylights to allow for natural lighting, water recycling measures and extensive insulation. Intelligent building systems will be standard in the building.

Completion for the 5-star green rated development, which will house about 6000 employees, is scheduled for 2016.

Paragon Architects are also busy with the development of another impressive green development – Alice Lane Phase 3.

“This office building, located on the corner of Alice Lane and Fifth Street in Sandton’s commercial centre, is the third of three buildings that will complete the enclosure for a much-needed ‘lung’ in Sandton’s shopping precinct,” says Fraser.

The 35 000m² 18-floor office development has office capacity for about 2300 people and consists of a super basement across all three phases, with a total of 3200 parking bays over seven basement levels.

Phase One tenants include Marsh, Bloomberg, Standard Bank and Virgin Active’s new flagship gym. Phase Two will accommodate Sanlam and Santam.

Although Alice Lane Phase 3 is designed around an office anchor tenant, Bowman Gilfillan, it will also include showrooms, retail elements and concept stores on the ground floor, which will interact with the piazza.

The architectural firm was also recently awarded the interior design commission for health insurance company Discovery Health’s new head office in Sandton.

Consisting of two wings, the design of the Discovery building will allow for a phased approach to growing the headquarters, as Discovery continues to expand operations. The building will incorporate a Green Building Council South Africa green building accredited rating of at least four stars, making it one of the most environmentally sustainable and efficient buildings in Sandton. “The green consultant is Aurecon, which is aiming for a 4- or 5-star building rating,” says Fraser.

The development, which started construction in February, is expected to be completed by mid-2017, with all employees relocated to their new office space by January 2018.

A second key element informing the design of new developments, especially those located in the highly prized Sandon node, is the move towards open-air cafés and concept stores, notes Fraser.

He states that the emergence of online shopping and the subsequent rise of concept stores is having an impact on retail design development.

“Anecdotal discussion suggests that online shopping will impact on ‘bricks and mortar’ stores with varying degrees and success. Some shopping centres restrict their Wi-Fi offering, but South Africa lags the rest of the world because of its rather weak broadband options and consumer resistance. However, this will change in the future.

“Also likely to change are large chain stores, such as clothing retailers, who will slim down, providing more signature stores and the emergence of lifestyle shops that include restaurants and concept stores. Bookshops and music stores have already fallen victim to electronic offerings,” explains Fraser.

 

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