Developed by Attacq, a new office building in Waterfall City accommodating Schneider Electric South Africa, Wisetech Global and Trans Africa Projects is targeting a LEED Gold certification. With approximately 15 000m² of lettable area, 3 basement levels of parking and 4 office levels above ground, the Schneider Electric building was designed as a perimeter building with a central, enclosed, quadruple-volume atrium at its heart. Morne Whitehead of Attacq says, “Our intention was to deliver a world class building on an extremely visible site. We aim to be at the forefront of sustainable development in order to provide offerings that attract multinational tenants.”
The site is located adjacent to the recently completed Novartis Head Office and diagonally opposite the Mall of Africa. Luke Chandler, design architect from Aevitas Group, notes that attention was paid to all edges of the site to ensure that the building is integrated into the urban fabric. “All five sides of the site are visible and had to be treated accordingly, with four sides facing onto roads and pedestrian entrances leading onto public open spaces.
To avoid excessive excavation, a podium was created to deal with the site’s slope, which also elevates the building and gives it a strong presence and sense of entrance. The star-shape generated by the five-sided site defined the shape of the atrium, which is enclosed with internal shopfronts between the tenant spaces and atrium itself in order to control the temperature and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of the tenant spaces more effectively.
Large skylights flood the atrium with natural light, which result in a reduced need for artificial light but increased heat gain – so the performance, positioning and ratio of skylight glass were all carefully considered. The atrium has also been landscaped with feature planters that double-up as public seating
The building has been designed with maximum flexibility in mind, with a single vertical circulation and services core for each of the northern and southern wings. These centrally located cores, together with internal walkways linking every level, ensure easy sub-division of space.
A full energy model of the building was carried out to analyse thermal loads on the building. Accordingly, the façades are either single glazed, double glazed or clad in insulated aluminium panels to optimise façade performance. According to Solid Green’s Gavin Westbrook, “The building has been optimised in terms of systems and building elements – such as performance glazing, insulation, high SRI roof coatings, and lighting controls – to reduce energy consumption by 54% compared to baseline. A solar PV installation on the roof also provides 21% (by cost) of the building’s energy needs.
Other sustainability features include low flow fittings to reduce water consumption by over 30%; efficient drip irrigation systems that reduce water consumption by 55%; landscaping and light coloured paving to reduce the urban heat island effect; and the specification of low VOC paints, floor finishes and adhesives in the interior to improve indoor environmental quality and occupant health. In addition, detailed waste management and site pollution plans where implemented during construction to reduce the amount of waste to landfill.
A third party commissioning agent, Ecolution, was appointed to optimise the design and ensure that commissioning of the renewable energy, hot water, lighting control, BMS, daylighting control and HVAC systems was carried out according to ASHRAE guidelines.
Having been through the LEED process on this building, Whitehead says, “We believe LEED to be the right rating tool to be used on buildings of this nature. The LEED system is rigorous in terms of ensuring that actual performance objectives are met through the commissioning of building. It focuses on the construction process as well as the end result, so it’s a reliable system all round in terms of ensuring quality control and a superior end product.”
LOCATION: Waterfall City, South Africa
ARCHITECTS: Aevitas Group
SIZE: 15 000sqm