MDS Architecture has designed a new shopping centre on a prominent site adjacent to the N3 in Alexandra which opened to the public at the end of March 2017.
Located just 6 km from the Sandton CBD, Alex Mall was developed by McCormick Property Development in association with Valumax.
Louis Pretorius is the partner at MDS Architecture heading the project. “The site is just off the London Road turnoff on the N3. Alex Mall offers almost 30 000sqm GLA,” he says. The multi-level modern design includes three attractive, colourful entrances on the upper level and another two on the lower level and a long, cascading building.
The top floor of Alex Mall features two soccer pitches in an Action Soccer facility, which is expected to be a significant attraction. A food court is situated around the main entrance, including a covered outdoor section. A large taxi rank is situated on the lower level under the slab, helping to ensure that the development meets the growing needs of the surrounding community.
The main entrance to Alex Mall is off the busy London Road. The building features high ceilings with an abundance of natural light and interior landscaping, which give Alex Mall a spacious feeling.
“The site has a 20 metre fall which had to be accommodated in the building. Escalators were used to step down and a lift was included to link the two levels,” says Pretorius.
The external finish is plastered and includes wall tiles right around the building. The porcelain tiled flooring is laid in traditional geometric patterns in a neutral colour palette.
To engender a sense of pride in the township, the demising columns between the shops will feature prints telling the story of the history of Alexandra.
Glass shopfronts are high and frameless with promotion and activity courts within the mall, close to each entrance. There are three public toilet areas in the shopping centre.
Pretorius says that the best possible use of natural light was a key part of the design of the mall. “Natural light has been maximised throughout the mall and in all the courts through clerestory windows, reducing the need for artificial lighting for a pleasant shopping experience that also reduces the need for too much additional heating,” he says.
In a drive to reduce Alex Mall’s water demand, rainwater harvesting has been included in the mall’s design. Through this initiative, water is harvested from the roofs and filtered for re-use, thus reducing the demand on municipal water. There is an attenuation pond for storm water as well as a series of tanks that take water back into the storage facility, where it is filtered and pumped to the main pressure tank situated over 30m above the lower levels of the mall, allowing for gravity-fed pressurization of the system. Alex Mall also includes waterless urinals to further increase water efficiency, which also helps to reduce operational costs.
MDS Architecture is an award-winning practice that has designed buildings that attract the business, the people and the activity that lead to a sustained performance. With a proud reputation spanning over 50 years, the practice is renowned for its skill in the sectors of hospitality and leisure, retail developments, offices, residential buildings and interiors. For more information on MDS Architecture, visit www.mdsarch.co.za
CLIENT: McCormick Property Development & Valumax
ARCHITECT: MDS Architecture
QUANTITY SURVEYORS: Quanticost
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Ingplan
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Air Cool
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Hannes Hattingh Consulting Engineers
CIVIL ENGINEER: KLS
FIRE CONSULTANTS: Ronnie Koekemoer
CONTRACTOR: Mike Buyskes Construction
SIZE: 30 000sqm
PHOTOGRAPHER: Tristan McLaren