The Daimler Truck Southern Africa corporate headquarters was designed with the intention of creating a sustainable and comfortable workplace for employees. Considering the natural setting of its previous building, compared to the utilitarian nature of the new site, ARCA Unlimited Architects aimed to create a space that would not only be efficient but also inspire creativity, productivity and a sense of belonging with a strong reference to nature. 

 The brief 

 This project called for the relocation of a team of approximately 300 staff members from a lush natural office park environment to an industrial campus. The project focussed on two buildings to accommodate all the staff members at the campus; a new headquarters, and the renovation of the existing TruckStore building.  

 Several challenges were identified: 

  • Property land use rights did not allow for the additional office accommodation and a rezoning process was required. 
  • The proposed building footprint was orientated in such a way that energy efficiency would be seriously compromised. 
  • The anticipated traffic could not be accommodated at the existing entrance. It was clear that a new entrance and gate house were required. 
  • With limited food options in the vicinity, the proposed accommodation did not include sufficient canteen, entertainment or relaxation areas. 
  • As a headquarters building representing major brands, the premises did not allow for the hosting of events such as product launches. 

 Materials 

 The architectural elements of both buildings embody a unique industrial workplace style. Construction included a significant upgrade to the exterior of the TruckStore building, the addition of a secondary external structure creating a covered walkway in front of the main building, and an interior renovation. By combining various materials such as black bricks, sheet metal cladding, translucent polycarbonate sheeting and contrasting white plastered walls, the design not only reflects the industrial nature of the precinct, but also provides a contemporary and durable appeal in line with the well-founded character of the 60-year-old entity. The structure features an assortment of greenery, bringing a natural and relaxing ambience to the industrial setting.  

In line with a commitment to achieving net-zero status, the car parking bays and roof areas were utilised to generate electricity and reduce reliance on non-renewable sources. Credit: Ruan Jansen van Rensburg

Due to the proximity of the TruckStore building to the N1 Highway, a specialized approach to sound treatment was required to achieve a comfortable work environment. To optimize the comfort of the building’s occupants, all windows were replaced with a custom insulated glazing system, and specialised insulation was installed in both ceilings and walls to achieve appropriate acoustic and thermal levels. Internal noise levels were reduced from over 75 Db to levels between 45 Db and 60 Db. The same specifications were applied to the headquarters building, located on the same campus on the corner of Nellmapius and Old Johannesburg Road.  

 Defining spaces 

 Working in an office environment can be challenging, and employees need a space to relax and recharge. Large covered external spaces were included to serve as a relaxation area for workers. These multifunctional spaces are also utilised for launches and events, further adding to the overall experience for employees, trainees and clients.  

 Considering the previous parklands environment, 250 trees and 4 000 shrubs were planted to transform the industrial setting into a lush and calming natural environment. Building facades were also screened with planters and creepers. 

 Sustainable design 

Sustainability is a core value of Daimler Truck Southern Africa, and the corporate head office reflects this through the following design elements and interventions for the new headquarters: 

  • All facades and windows are screened to limit solar heat gain and reduce electrical loads. 
  • High-specification, low-E double glazing further ensures low heat gains and losses. 
  • The roof slopes to the north to allow for further solar installations and rainwater collection on one facade. 
  • 20 000L Backup water storage was installed. 
  • All Sanitary fittings are low-flow units fittings. 
  • All light fittings are energy efficient fittings. 
  • 332 solar panels were installed, making the building self-sustaining with a grid connection only required for backup. 
  • Existing pavers were set aside and re-installed in order to reduce waste. 

Similar sustainable solutions were incorporated into the TruckStore building, as well as the introduction of a solar installation.  

 Net-zero goals 

 The car parking bays and roof areas were utilised to generate electricity and reduce reliance on non-renewable sources. The facility can operate during regular power outages, with 722 solar panels providing 346,2kWp of electricity and an additional 400kWh of back-up power.  

 High-specification acoustic glass was installed, which results in a quiet and comfortable working environment. This approach towards calming acoustics was further enhanced by insulating enclosed meeting rooms and providing suspended acoustic dampening panels. This adds to the overall experience of the employees, reducing distractions and allowing them to focus on their work in a relaxed environment, despite the noisy major roadways flanking the setting. 

The Daimler Truck Southern Africa corporate headquarters underwent a transformative renovation, geared towards a more contemporary building. It is a sustainable and comfortable place to work in, reflecting a commitment to employees and the environment. It provides a space that reflects company culture and is efficient, aesthetically pleasing and conducive to productivity.

The buildings reflect a symbiosis between the natural environment and the built environment delivering multi-functional spaces aimed at occupant wellbeing.  

Large covered external spaces were included to serve as a multi-functional space; a relaxation area for workers that can also be used for launches and events. Credit: Graeme Wyllie

Project details:
Name: Daimler Truck Southern Africa Headquarters.
Location: Centurion, Gauteng.
Site: 10,2233ha.
Building: Approximately 2 000m². 

For more information, contact ARCA Unlimited:
Tel: +27 12 346 4023
Email: info@arcaunlimited.com
Website: https://arcaunlimited.com/ 

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