Inspiring RHEINZINK façade solution used on ALEXANDER FORBES INSURANCE Building in Johannesburg

04.03.2013

While demonstrating significant transformation and revitalising change, 115 West Street in Sandton, the new headquarters of the financial services giant, Alexander Forbes, is more than simply a new workspace from where clients are served. Instead, the building symbolises the company’s new beginnings. And its new façade technology was a major consideration throughout the exterior design process.

The 8-storey building was designed to accommodate Alexander Forbes’ 2 300 Johannesburg staff. The impressive construction development took a mere 22 months with WBHO and Tiber Bonvec at the helm. Given the extent of the project, and the timeline for completion, workers were often on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The building is architecturally ground breaking. Since the health and well-being of staff was one of the central design mandates, it combines plant-filled outdoor areas, natural light and energy efficient lighting. The circulation of fresh air and temperature control were also key considerations. As such, numerous pause or break areas are incorporated into the design.

In addition, the latest available technology was deployed in high speed lifts and state-of-the-art auditoriums. Other benefits for staff include an in-house gym, coffee bar, staff restaurant and crèche. The property is also across the road from the Gautrain station and in close proximity to the BRT route, allowing staff and clients easy access to public transport, thus reducing vehicle dependence.

The special architectural features of the S-shaped scallop walls on the west and east façades of the south facing building posed some challenges. Anthony Orelowitz, Director of Paragon Architects, used RHEINZINK to create the six floor high scallops on each side of the Alexander Forbes Building, allowing natural light into the interior.

RHEINZINK because of its flexibility, enabled the designer to create the shapes and forms that other building elements could not achieve. The South African-German zinc contractor ROHDE ROOFING CC has been commended on their performance in crafting an eye-catching façade the likes of which is new to the South African construction industry.

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