Urban redevelopment

Set in the dynamic central business district (CBD) of Kimberley, the architectural project of Talama Heights marks a significant stride in urban redevelopment. Initially a ground-floor retail building, it was ambitiously transformed into an advanced office complex with two added floors, showcasing a synergy of modern design and engineering ingenuity. 

Transformation rationale 

The transformation from a retail space to commercial offices was a strategic decision made in response to the burgeoning demand for modern office space within Kimberley’s central business district. “This repurposing reflects our vision for urban redevelopment and capitalises on the opportunity to provide a sustainable and valuable use of space in an evolving market,” says Dirk Coetser, director and architect at A4AC Architects. 

Design inspiration 

The design of Talama Heights was inspired by the existing architectural forms in the surrounding urban context, with a nod to Kimberley’s heritage as a city known for diamond mining. The concept of cutting a diamond, which transforms something rough into a multifaceted gem, parallels the building’s transformation.  

This creative vision was instrumental in developing a structure that stands out as a contemporary addition to the cityscape, providing a fresh, modern contrast to its surroundings. 

The design ensures that each office space receives abundant natural light and fresh air, promoting a healthy and productive work environment. The central placement of meeting rooms and auxiliary spaces optimises functionality within the building. 

Beauty and function 

Urban redevelopment

After. Talama Heights in Kimberley sets a benchmark in urban redevelopment.

The distinctive colour blocks and geometric patterns adorning the exterior are more than just aesthetic choices; they are a deliberate attempt to contrast with the existing shapes in the environment, signifying the building as a modern intervention. “This visual impact was achieved using the Terraco render system, a choice that complements the lightweight construction while enhancing the building’s energy efficiency,” Coetser explains. 

This synergy significantly reduces HVAC system loads, contributing to the building’s theoretical electrical consumption savings. 

Insulating render 

The Terraco render is an exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), also known as external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS). This type of cladding system provides exterior walls with an insulated finished surface and waterproofing in an integrated composite material system.  

This energy-efficient facade insulation system was applied to the exterior surfaces of the building, and then finished with a long-life, decorative and protective wall coating. For more information on Terraco systems, see the article on page xxx. 

Innovative construction 

The standout feature of this project is the use of lightweight steel framing, manufactured by Adistra Manufacturing Steel Frame Roll Formers. 

This choice was pivotal for several reasons: 
  • The structural integrity of the added floors was ensured without overburdening the existing foundation. This was crucial as the original building wasn’t designed to support additional conventional weight. 
  • A cost-effective solution, circumventing the need for expensive reinforcement of the existing structure. 
  • The speed of erecting steel frames significantly expedited the construction process, a crucial factor in minimising disruption in the bustling CBD. 
  • With the versatility of steel framing, this allowed for greater flexibility in architectural design, enabling creative solutions for space utilisation and aesthetics. 
  • Steel framing is a sustainable choice, with potential for recycling and reduced waste during construction, aligning with modern green building practices. 
  • Enhanced durability and low maintenance requirements, as compared to traditional construction materials, ensure longevity of the structure. 

Energy efficiency 

With its sustainable design and construction practices, Talama Heights is not just aiming for an energy performance certification but is specifically targeting a Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Green Star rating. This reflects a dedication to environmental stewardship and the ambition to set a benchmark for green buildings in the region. 

The building is expected to achieve a four- or five-star energy performance certification rating, underlining its status as a model for environmentally responsible urban development. Coetser explains: “At Talama Heights, every design decision, from the cutting-edge steel frame to the energy efficient Terraco render system, has been informed by our commitment to sustainability and innovation.” 

Voidcon flooring system 

The incorporation of the Voidcon flooring system exemplifies the project’s commitment to lightweight yet effective construction solutions, offering a balance between lightness, fire safety and structural strength. 

Through its innovative use of lightweight steel framing and other sustainable construction practices, this office development in Kimberley sets a benchmark in urban redevelopment. It exemplifies how modern architecture can align functionality, aesthetic appeal and environmental responsibility, paving the way for future developments in the Northern Cape and beyond. 

“Like the precise art of diamond cutting, our architectural process is about refining and revealing the beauty of structure and form. This project embodies our dedication to creating spaces that are not only functional and pleasing to the eye, but also responsible towards the environment,” says Coetser. “We are paving the way for future developments that prioritise green building practices without compromising on design quality.” 

Project name: Talama Heights

Project location: Corner of Bean and Chapel Streets, Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa

Programme/use/building function: Commercial offices.

Client: Adistra Properties.
Client site agent: Flomack Projects/Andre Shulnz/in collaboration with Steel Frame Warehouse

Architects: A4AC Architects, https://www.a4ac.co.za/. 

Main architect: Dirk Coetser. 

Structural engineer: Ashley Fransman/Innostruc Engineering.
Completion year: 2023. 

Gross built area (m²): 2 700m².  

 For more information, visit A4AC Architects:

Tel: +27 11 477 8738 

Email: info@a4ac.co.za  

Website: www.a4ac.co.za

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