With just over 9000 m2 of construction required, the eco rebuild of Eastgate 20 on the corner of Grayston Drive and Katherine Street in Sandton has given it a new place in the sun. From the outside, “nothing really stands out,” says Paul Carew of PJ Carew Consulting, “but that’s what makes it so impressive – that despite the green aspect makeover, nothing has detracted from its attractiveness.”

Skeletally, however, the ex-motor dealership venue is a wealth of energy, water and resource-based efficiencies that has culminated in a 4 Star Green Star rating, the first Green Star SA accreditation for Paragon Architects. Whilst its location next to the Sandton motorway flyover was always prominent, its new silhouette has quite literally elevated the view from the northern side of the roadway bridge with the addition of two floors and a façade that will push tenant branding into the eye of the innumerable motorists travelling into and out of the busy metropolis.

Being able to understand the traditional elements of the original building design and adapting them to embrace eco-rebuild, was a challenge that the Paragon Group were ready to accomplish. “We realise that sustainable design is no longer seen as an unusual concept, even though it’s a relatively new approach in South Africa,” says Paragon Group’s Hugh Fraser.

“The client, Tiber Projects, insisted that a Green Star SA rating was an imperative. “Knowing this from the outset, was crucially helpful and not a choice that can be made midstream, given the technical decisions that need to be made in consultation with the contractor, such as the waste recycling aspects and all the other the critical implications of the greening rebuild,” states Fraser.

Aesthetically the architects conceptualised a “box out of a box” design, refining the layers with crisp edges and folded planes defined by hard glass and tiling finishes.  An almost three-dimensional effect has been created as a result, offering a number of vantage points and height levels, with deep-set window openings on the north-east and south-west sides.

A detail such as the incorporation of natural lighting, is one of a number of criteria to satisfy the SANS 204 regulations that were enforced only after the building was designed. However, because elements from the Green Star SA guidelines had already accounted for energy savings, it is now a simple matter of applying for formal recognition.

In presenting itself to the sun, glare has been reduced by external louvres and performance glass to offer sunscreen protection. These still allow taking advantage of the natural light, so that 64% of the office space is less dependent on electrical energy.

As the economy turns and businesses begin to adjust accordingly, and as tenants again start seeking new premises, Carew believes that Green Star certified buildings are going to become more attractive, and the long-term savings of the green built projects are going to swing the pendulum in favour of Eastgate 20-type retrofits, especially given the focus on accessibility and cost savings.

 

The full article can be found in the August-September 2012 issue.

Images: Jason Buch (www.jasonbuchphotography.com)