Our cities are growing as more and more people move closer to where they work. This and the fact that companies are looking to operate more efficiently, spark many new construction projects. Here are our top picks for 2016.

In South Africa, 63% of the population is currently urbanised and this number is expected to increase to 71% by 2030, according to the 2016 State of the Cities Report, presented by the South African Cities Network (SACN).

However, most South African cities remain inefficient due to spatial segregation during apartheid as well as post-1994 developments that continued to locate subsidised housing and poorer populations in peripheral areas. In addition, the typical South African city has followed a resource-intensive growth path, resulting in inefficiencies across sectors such as energy, water, waste, food and transport.

The report stresses that spatial transformation is critical for cities to become more productive, inclusive and sustainable, which is why more and more plans are seen for sustainable urban precincts and integrated, mixed-use developments instead of silo building-by-building approaches. Green building practices have also come to be the norm, rather than the exception.

Despite economic constraints, the continued urbanisation, as well as companies who are looking to operate more efficiently, the construction sector is still alive with many projects in the pipeline across the country.

Here are some of WALLS & ROOFS’ top picks of local buildings that were completed in 2016:

Top projects of 2016 No 5 Silo

No. 5 Silo
V&A Waterfront – Silo Precinct

VDMMA, in association with Jacobs Parker, designed No. 5 Silo to house new commercial office space as well as retail. The design incorporates a public circulation route through the building, linking with precinct wide circulation and compartmentalising the office floor plates into north and south parts.

Project highlights
•    By using a rigorously economic structural system of post-tensioned concrete slabs and columns, the maximum number of floors were achieved within the town planning prescribed height restrictions (to match the top of the bins of the adjacent historical Grain Silo, which is shortly to become the new Museum of Contemporary Art Africa).
•    Materials: Raw concrete block work, unitised glass and tile cladding, sheer glass curtain walling, rough-cut timber panelling, exposed steel structural members, steel framing and grillages, cobble and flagstones paving, bold warehouse signage and street lighting.
•    Overhead circulation bridges criss-cross across a seven-storey high space.
•    Natural light and ventilation are introduced at roof-top level.
•    Vast extract fans are visible at a high level at both street ends in keeping with a design language which references the industrial heritage of the site.
•    Landscaped roof space has been utilised as breakaway space.

Courtesy of VDMMA
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Top projects of 2016 Sasol headquarters

New Sasol headquarters
Sandton, Johannesburg

Situated at 50 Katherine Street in Sandton, the almost 70 000m², ten storeys high, five-star Green Star rated new head office for Sasol will bring together employees from various scattered office buildings across the city, under one roof. The design by Paragon Architects and Paragon Interface is based on the shape of the oil giant’s logo, which encapsulates the company’s values.

Project highlights
•    The curved performance-driven facade is made up of bandings of vision panels and non-vision glass, based on in-depth modelling and analysis to maximise visibility out of the building while maintaining interior comfort.
•    More than 2 000 panels of floor-to-ceiling unitised double-glazed panels of vision glass and spandrels were used with shape and glass variations encapsulated in each panel.
•    Natural light is maximised by seven dramatic skylights, articulated with acoustic baffles.
•    Airy, open and transparent work spaces.
•    The different areas in the building are tied together with a series of bridges.

 Courtesy of Paragon Architects
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Top projects of 2016 Etv

e.tv Cape Town Head Office

After outgrowing the walls of its Longkloof building and requiring a new, technologically advanced building, e.tv commissioned Peerutin Architects in early 2011 to explore the development potential of a 6 675m2 site in the Gardens area of Cape Town. The design reflects the station’s nostalgic origins in the raw, industrial space, though reinvented and reinterpreted.

Project highlights
•    The materials palette includes off-shutter concrete, Table Mountain granite stonework, face brick, steel, glass and aluminium fenestration, and a lightweight roof clad in Rheinzink.
•    Internally, painted bagged brick, raw concrete ceilings and exposed servicing carry on the theme of nostalgia and reminiscence.
•    Built to meet the criteria for a four-star rated building as defined by the Green Building Council of South Africa.
•    The overall composition is a well-defined hierarchical stacking of layers vertically, with each layer clearly expressing the accommodation structure within the building.

 © Fiona Barclay-Smith
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Top projects of 2016 Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital

Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
Parktown, Johannesburg

Only the fifth dedicated children’s hospital to be built in Africa and the second in South Africa, the R1-billion Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital was designed by Sheppard Robson International, John Cooper Architecture, GAPP Architects and Urban Designers and Ruben Reddy Architects, and constructed on land donated by the University of the Witwatersrand.

Project highlights
•    The capital for the project came from donations and fundraising efforts.
•    The 200-bed facility has the capacity to grow to 300 beds.
•    At the centre of the design is a secret garden, a visual and spiritual heart for the hospital, around which all activity is based.
•    The shallow floor plans allow for much of the building to be naturally lit and ventilated.
•    The hospital will operate as an academic tertiary care referral facility, providing services in speciality care areas such as cardiothoracic, neuroscience, nephrology, endocrine, reconstructive and general paediatric surgery.

Courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust
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Top projects of 2016 Menlyn park shopping centre

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
Menlyn, Pretoria

The R2,5-billion redevelopment of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre saw 54 028m2 of retail floor space and 200 stores being added, bringing the total lettable floor space to 177 000m2, making it the largest mall in Africa. The new design by BILD Architects and Terra Ether Architects is much lighter than before and a race-track design over mainly two levels makes navigation much simpler.

Project highlights
•    Menlyn Park has been an iconic part of Pretoria’s landscape since its construction in 1979 and had undergone another major revamp from 1998 to 2000.
•    Natural light was incorporated into the design and look of the centre.
•    An open-air piazza (aka Central Park), planted with mature trees, is flanked by restaurants to create a meeting point and events area with impressive water features.
•    Pause areas throughout the centre feature timber pergolas that give it a homely feel.
•    Spectacular exposed steelwork with a Klip-Lok 700 Chromadek roof.
•    The first building phase was awarded a four-star Green Star Retail Design rating.

Courtesy of Menlyn Park Shopping Centre
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Top projects of 2016 Waterway

Waterway House
V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Waterway House is the first phase of the new, mixed-use Canal District, currently under development at the V&A Waterfront. The south building will be the new home for British American Tobacco South Africa. Designed by dhk, the new building aligns with Dock Road as it leads into the V&A Waterfront, framing the approach from the city.

Project highlights
•    The design received a five-star Green Star SA Design Certification.
•    The building is broken into two at the centre, emphasising the visual axis between Table Bay and the Noon Gun complex located on Signal Hill.
•    The break in the building also aligns with the bridge that links Dock Road and the remainder of Canal Precinct.
•    The building itself forms a gateway into both the Canal Precinct as well as into the V&A.

Courtesy of dhk

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Ridgeview offices
Umhlanga Ridge, Kwa-Zulu Natal

This landmark green office development by Growthpoint Properties in Umhlanga’s booming Ridgeside precinct has achieved a 5 Star Green Star SA Office v1 Design Rating (a first for Durban) and won a SAPOA Innovative Excellence Award. The multi-tenanted office building was designed by Elphick Proome Architects using current technologies and innovative methodologies to deliver a cost effective, high grade work space.

Project highlights:
•    The highly efficient façade incorporates double glazing, insulation and both vertical and horizontal shading.
•    The air-conditioning system makes use of an air cooled chiller that reduces potable water consumption by over 2 million litres of water annually.
•    Preferential parking for electric vehicles and cyclist facilities encourages alternative modes of transportation.
•    Xeriscaping eliminates the need for irrigation.
•    Energy meters which are connected to a building management system provide the building owner with detailed information on energy use.
© Karl Beath
Courtesy Elphick Proome Architects

 

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.sacities.net, VDMMA, Peerutin Architects, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, GAPP Architects and Urban Designers, Ruben Reddy Architects, Paragon, BILD Architects, Terra Ether Architects, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Elphick Proome Architects and dhk for the information to write this article.

Some of our top picks of projects completed in 2016:
•    Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Johannesburg.
•    No. 5 Silo, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
•    Ridgeview offices, Umhlanga Ridge, KZN
•    Sasol Headquarters, Sandton, Johannesburg.
•    e.tv Cape Town Head Office.
•    Waterway House, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
•    Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Pretoria.