The false facade in front of the Nedbank MFC auction house along the R21 is not there to catch one’s eye, but also to create an illusion of space.

With some clever design and well-thought-out features, the Nedbank Motor Finance Corporation (MFC) building along the R21 is a functional building that answers the client’s brief and effectively deals with challenges.

The project involved the design and construction of an auction showroom, a small office area and approximately 70 000m² of steel-cladded carports that serve as storage space for cars.

According to Werner Geel, architectural team leader at Boogertman + Partners Architects, one of the most enjoyable design challenges on the project was the signage panel that forms a huge visual focal point along the R21 highway.

Creating an illusion of space
“The front of house showroom component is quite small in relation to the remaining storage facility. The intension was to create a front façade which would distort the spatial definition as perceived from the R21 highway in an attempt to visually display a larger front of house showroom component,” Geel explains.

To achieve this, the glass facade of the showroom area disappears behind the structure, which was clad in gradients of translucent sheets to give the illusion of extending the building. The first third of the cladded facade is 60% translucent, the second part 30% and the last part is a solid Chromadek® sheet. Passers-by can see light and movement behind the translucent sheets, so it distorts the differentiation between the showroom and storage area.

The structure is clad at an angle with aluminium panels and positioned about 1m in front of the main building to serve as a false facade. While it formalises the vehicle storage area and provides a degree of protection against wind and other weather elements, it also required less waterproofing than a formal facade, saving costs.

Carport and roof cladding
To safely store the cars, an economical carport structure was required that is both low risk from an insurance point of view and allows some areas to be completely closed off. With shaded netting out of the equation, a practical sheet metal structure was designed and the same roof sheeting profile that was used for the main building and showroom was specified for the carports.

Pro Roof Steel Merchants supplied ProLok 700 in ZincAL® from Safal Steel for the roof sheeting, roll forming on site to eliminate unnecessary handling and logistical problems. IBR Pro686 in COLORPLUS® Slate was used for the side cladding of the carports. COLORPLUS® Slate material was repeated on the roof of the main building and showroom, also in the ProLok 700 profile. The installation was done by Rainbow Sheeters & Erectors.

Industrial interior
For the front of house, Geel kept to the industrial look and feel with polished floors, a steel grid supporting the roof and white insulation that serves as the ceiling. The plastered walls and big shopfronts add a contemporary, neat finish. In addition, the counters were made out of Caesartone countertops and Formica panels with aluminium details that were designed to support Nedbank MFC’s corporate identity.

Guarding against collapse
The site’s dolomitic ground posed another big challenge. A posttensioned floor and beams construction were used to secure the building in the case of a sinkhole irrupting. Careful consideration was also given to the attenuation and storm-water drainage systems to accommodate these above ground.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Boogertman + Partners Architects and Pro Roof Steel Merchants for the information given to write this article.

*Caption:

The Nedbank MFC building.
© Michael Schmucker