The conversion of Vukile Property Fund’s Randburg Square offices into 180 contemporary apartments, which include bachelor flats and two-bedroom units, has created an affordable, compact residential option and answered the demand for residential property in the area.
The R80 million redevelopment, set atop Randburg Square, offers direct access to shopping, banking, gym, leisure and medical facilities, and is within walking distance of bus and taxi transport.

Innovative conversion
Architect Edmond Batley of Batley Partners explains that the building was changed in subtle ways to respond to its new use, such as columns that were added to the facade to highlight the division between units, while also hiding the building’s services.

The colourful columns that were added to the facade hide the building’s services.Repurposing the building required innovation, especially as its structure was originally designed for office loads. To this end, the team found a special lightweight walling system that uses a steel framework with gunite applied on mesh to form a super-strong, more soundproof and durable alternative to drywall. It also enabled quicker construction, which was a priority since the building took place at a trading shopping centre.

Challenges
According to the project manager, Jamie Raubenhimer of CPDev, logistics proved to be one of the biggest obstacles. “We had to get material and equipment to and from all twelve floors with a goods hoist that ran around the clock,” he explains.

Another challenge the team faced, was creating new windows on the outer sides of the tower block, which required punching holes through 210mm of solid concrete wall and a further 100mm of cladding.

Services and finishes
The former office lobby was converted into an apartment entrance, providing secure access through double man trap doors. The building is also equipped with a fibre-optic backbone that runs to each apartment and currently delivers a digital DSTV signal, but is upgradable for other uses.

Apartment finishes were chosen to be modern, slick and functional, from brilliant tiles, marble counters and stainless steel cupboards in kitchens to edgy exposed services in passages and ceilings that give a nod to the building’s original office use.

A tribute to modern living, Randburg Square residences offer its occupants a quick and easy e-wallet payment system and smart meters, making it easy to buy pre-paid electricity and pay for water. Plus, the apartments are designed to be energy-efficient with LED lighting.

The ground-floor units each has a small garden and there is a dedicated kids’ play area with direct access from the building. The building includes a parkade that is accessed directly from the apartments and a laundry facility in addition to each unit offering space for a dishwasher or washing machine.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Vukile Property Fund for the information given to write this article.

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The show apartment was decorated by Marisca Deminey, a postgraduate student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), with furniture, décor and appliances from shops in Randburg Square on a R55 000 budget.