In keeping with Discovery’s philosophy to promote a healthy lifestyle, the company’s new global head office in Sandton was designed for optimal efficiency, sustainability and occupant comfort. In fact, it is the largest new building that has been certified by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), receiving a five-star Green Star rating.

The development comprises three linked office towers, which have expansive glass facades and atriums designed by Boogertman & Partners in collaboration with Pure Consulting acting as the Façade Engineers both for the developers and for the Façade Contractors.

The linked office towers consist of eight floors each, and sit above a nine level super-basement offering over 5 000 parking bays. The ground floor accommodates Discovery’s retail partners, client services, a walk-in centre, staff restaurants and coffee shops. A fully equipped gym, running track, yoga decks and multipurpose courts are set in the indigenously landscaped roof and encourage an active lifestyle.

Five green stars
As the HVAC Consultants, Aurecon was responsible for overseeing the delivery of the developers’ and Discovery’s green intent for the building, which combines passive features with technology to ensure optimal efficiency.

Features which have contributed to the rating include high-efficiency air-conditioning that leverages an outside air economy cycle and indoor air CO₂ monitoring, low-energy lighting, occupant control and daylight optimisation. Grey and rainwater systems, efficient sanitary fittings, an efficient irrigation system and water-wise landscaping contribute to the building’s optimal water performance.

Each building is wrapped around a sunlit atrium together with a skylight result in an abundance of natural light. Photo supplied by Paragon

Ample daylight
The building is wrapped around a series of sunlit atria that plug into a central concourse. The design of the atria and skylights result in an abundance of natural light without compromising occupants’ comfort and energy performance. The high-performance, double-glazed curtain wall and skylights feature Saint-Gobain SKN754 II & ST 120 glass. The neutral solar control glass has an attuned combination of active solar protection, high light transmittance and excellent heat protection.

According to Pure Consulting’s Neil MacLeod, the biggest skylight spans 35m with no intermediate supports, no bracing using only cable trusses and tie downs. The huge glazed area of the skylights comprises sealed insulated glass units (SIGU) comprise 6mm high performance toughened glass and the outer surface, supported by an “air bubble” in the sealed cavity and a much thicker, laminated inner glass. The outer glass is also printed with a pattern of fritted dots to further improve the solar performance

“At concept stage, Aurecon were sceptical that we could find a glazing solution that was cost effective and still have the very high solar performance that was required for an efficient HVAC design” states MacLeod. “As a team we went through many iterations until we found the right glazing recipe” he adds.

A wholesome interior
To create an interior environment that is centred on occupants’ health and well-being, Paragon Interface incorporated both active and calm environments which are formally structured throughout the building. The typical office floor plates were also designed for activity-based working to enhance collaboration and business efficiency.

Discovery is expected to take occupation of this iconic 112 000m² resource-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-innovative property, which is owned by Growthpoint (55%) and Zenprop (45%), towards the end of this year.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Growthpoint Properties Limited, Pure Consulting and Paragon Architects for the information given to write this article.

Caption main image: The iconic new 112 000m2 resource-efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-innovative Discovery head office is the largest single-phase commercial office development in Africa.
Courtesy of Growthpoint Properties