The new 8 500m², three-storey office building for the southern regional operations of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) is the first in the R6 billion Baywest City precinct in Port Elizabeth, along the N2. It is also the first office development in the Eastern Cape to obtain a five-star Green Star certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).
To ensure environmental sustainability, an 85kWh peak, roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system will provide 40% of the building’s energy requirements, according to Edward Brooks, director of Activate Architects, who also designed Sanral’s head office in Pretoria, which won design awards from the South African Property Owners’ Association and the Concrete Society.
In addition, a rainwater harvesting system and highly insulated walls, roofing and flooring were installed to maintain a moderate internal temperature in spite of fluctuating external temperatures.
Alongside the natural materials of stone and timber panelling, Rheinzink zinc alloy was specified for cladding three areas on the western facade, where weather prevails, since it uses little energy in production and is 100% recyclable. Brooks adds that it is a robust, durable material, requiring no maintenance, and will last as long as concrete.
The Rheinzink cladding in two shades, pre-patina blue grey and pre-patina graphite grey, has been curved to give the building a softer shape. The patina created by natural weathering will protect the material for generations.
Stephen Wilkinson, regional sales director of Rheinzink (South Africa), points out that Rheinzink systems offer architects even more freedom for implementing dramatic designs and allow buildings to be optimised whatever their shape. “This is well illustrated in the design treatment of the Sanral building,” he says.
On the eastern facade, an aluminium screen serves as a Sanral billboard and provides shade from the morning light. The main facade consists of double glazing under large overhangs.
The green advantage
Brooks further confirms that the demand for green-rated buildings has grown globally. “These sorts of developments are generally more pleasant to work in and tend to attract higher-end tenants,” he states.
“It might come with a greater capital outlay of between 5% and 20%, but one needs to look at the landscape of water and electricity scarcity and the energy savings the building will make over time, as well as the more productive environment for tenants.”
Baywest City development
The completion of the Sanral office follows the opening of the project catalyst, the R1,7 billion Baywest Mall in May 2016. Phase one of the development includes 2 000 residential opportunities, office and commercial space, light industry, a private school, hospital and hotel.
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The Rheinzink cladding in two shades, pre-patina blue grey and pre-patina graphite grey, has been curved to give the building a softer shape.