The project, carried out for the Freshmark distribution centre in Polokwane, made use of particularly innovative cladding – atypical of a warehouse building and technically challenging to achieve. The result was aesthetically pleasing, with a design element of curved bullnoses to transition from the roof to the cladding.

Commissioning architects

Freshmark is part of the Shoprite Group and commissioned SLT Architects, with lead architect Neil Marx, to design the new distribution centre.

Challenges faced

  • Due to Covid-19, most of the team had to operate remotely. This was overcome by using building information modelling (BIM) technologies and a remote high-resolution camera imaging service, HoloBuilder.
  • The development space was constrained due to the size of the site.
  • The century-old stormwater servitude had to be accommodated.
  • The development also had to include future expansions.
  • The entire warehouse is refrigerated, needing a vertical design.

Structure

The client wanted to expand the distribution centre via a phase 2 development. The entire warehouse is refrigerated and handles fresh produce on a limited footprint, so the design team had to settle on a vertical design. At the apex, the building is 30m off the ground. Ceilings and interior walls are clad with ISO panels, stacked on top of one another with steel framing supporting the structure and ensuring insulation.

The roof is pre-painted steel and partially cladded with an IBR profile, giving it a modern look.

Sustainability

The Shoprite Group is committed to the use of renewable energy – thus retail stores are fitted with photovoltaic systems, and this is already in place at the Freshmark distribution centre. Thermal energy is harvested from the mechanical plant room and used via heat to transfer warm water to wash packing crates.

Interesting facts:

  • Because of the pandemic, most of the team had to operate remotely and had to rely on building information modelling (BIM) technologies and a remote high-resolution camera imaging service called HoloBuilder.
  • The entire warehouse is refrigerated, and the ceilings and walls are clad with ISO panels, stacked on top of one another to ensure adequate insulation.
  • Although it is a distribution centre, it has a modern appeal with its pre-painted steel, cladded with an IBR profile and contrasting white ISO panel walls.
  • HoloBuilder is cloud-based technology that was used to communicate in real-time with site.

Project team

  • Safintra South Africa
  • Safal Steel
  • WSP Group Africa
  • Ferro Eleganza (Pty) Ltd
  • Tate and Nicholson
  • SLT Architects

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to the project team and https://www.saisc.co.za for the information in this editorial.

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