Rivonia, Gauteng, South Africa
An office park development for Old Mutual Properties
I worked on this with my father, who was also an architect, when we worked together in Johannesburg from 1994 to 1997. It is a development of 12,000 m2 of speculative offices in Rivonia. Instead of making a single large building, we took the approach of breaking down the scale to make 6 smaller buildings over a single basement running under most of the development.
Aside from the market analysis that determined the most feasible and efficient commercial footprints for speculative office space in this particular demographic, the design was influenced by climatic and functional requirements. We took care in differentiating the approach to different orientations, so that the north (sun) facing facades had deep reveals with set back windows, the south façades had flush windows in the wall, and there were few or well shaded windows east and west. We designed protruding bays and window surrounds to create some movement, shadow and play in the elevations, with changes in scale, height and roof-scape visible. This all works to create a scale suited to the local neighbourhood context. We believed that people are able to relate well to the sculptural forms and the scale of the buildings, and that they will create a sense of well being in this environment.
Having created a ‘language’ for the form, with the module relating back to the size of a ceiling tile and standard light fitting module and possible future partitioning of the office space, we then worked on providing each building with some sense of its own unique identity. Of course there was the naming and signage of each block, and the colouring of them, and the relationship to a large square with some special water features and a sculpture by Edoardo Villa near the main pedestrian entrance to the site.