With office space in the Midrand business district at a premium, the need to optimise spaces such as courtyards – to not only provide additional space, but also being able to bring the outdoors indoors – by giving access to natural daylight and views to the outside create a win-win situation.
The Firmenich office in Midrand had an existing open-air area that the client wanted to convert into a more usable lunch/pause area, which would be suitable for all seasons. They appointed Studio Fanucchi Architecture to head the courtyard refurbishment project.
The project brief
Studio Fanucchi Architecture presented the client a spacious and naturally lit courtyard, while ensuring a more private, beautiful setting which could be used throughout the year. The design build expertise of LEAF Structures formed a vital component of the project’s functionality, aesthetics and successful execution.
The brief from the architect was to create a modern, lightweight glass facade and an insulated sheeted butterfly roof for the courtyard. LEAF Structures worked closely with the architect and building engineer to come up with a clean geometry which would be ideal for the glass facade.
LEAF provided the architect with an engineered design solution utilising horizontally suspended steel and a point-supported structural glass system which would maximise light into the courtyard.
One of the engineering and installation challenges of the project was the installation of the 2 700mm high point-supported glass panels underneath the cantilevering butterfly roof. The roof drainage had to be carefully investigated, since the existing adjacent roofs could not cater for increased drainage of the new roof. To solve this challenge the new roof drainage was channelled through the façade column.
In addition, close attention was paid to coordinating the interface details between the existing concrete structure and the new glass facade, to ensure the new addition blended seamlessly with the existing building. This coordination was made easier by working closely with the building engineers L&S Consulting.
The use of large structural point-supported glass panels with glass-to-glass silicone joints instead of aluminium mullions around the glass ensured that LEAF could keep to the architect’s design intent of creating a smooth all-glass transparent facade.
Here is a look at the final project, demonstrating the successful collaboration between each of the role players on the project.
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