The Sasol Place building in Sandton, Johannesburg, designed by professional management services group Paragon Group’s subsidiary, Paragon Architects, won the office developments corporate and the overall winner awards from the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) in 2017.
Paragon Group director Anthony Orelowitz explains that Paragon Architects was chosen to build the office building, while the group’s interior architecture and space planning business Paragon Interface Architects was chosen to design the interior space of the building after winning two competitive service appointment bids organised by petrochemicals giant Sasol.
“In terms of the bids and the designs, we had about six weeks to conceptualise them, cost the building and to get a proposal in on the building. We had to go through all those steps just to get into the first round, then there was another three to four months afterwards where Sasol did the final selection,” he highlights.
The development and building of Sasol Place cost R1.2-billion and it took 36 months to complete, excluding the design phase. He says the 11-storey, 67 000 m2 office currently houses Sasol’s head office, incorporating over 17 offices across Gauteng into one location.
In total, the building is housing 2 500 office workers, but it is capable of accommodating a total of 7 000 workers. Orelowitz points out that the building has reduced Sasol’s total environmental footprint by 40%, compared with its previous buildings.
“There are two components to consider when managing so many people, one is the architectural bones of the building and then there is the interiors with the layouts. From an architectural point of view, we designed a building that is well connected,” he states.
Orelowitz says all the lifts throughout the building have been centralised, with the lavatories also located in the middle. This enables anyone in the building to never be further away than 20 m to 30 m from the central circulation point of the building.
Further, the central location of the lifts and bathrooms helps to increase the longevity of the building. By building ‘bridges’ from the core to each of the floors, which are divided into ‘plates’, space can be saved if any plates ever need to be lent out to tenants.
“So, the building plates have been designed to allow as much flexibility for the tenants that would occupy it to be incredibly efficient; the floor plate centralises all the services into a single point, with individual pockets for tenants available as small as 300 m2,” he explains,
pointing out that, by using the floor space in this manner, the overall efficiency of the building floor space is about 91%.
He mentions that Sasol Place has also received several certifications for its efficiency. By having biomes, coffee shops, a wellness centre, a convenience store, a fitness centre and a dedicated gallery with a sculpture garden, Sasol Place has received the 5-Star Green Star design rating.
The Sapoa Innovative Excellence in Property Development Awards recognise and applaud property professionals who undertake massive projects that result in globally competitive property developments.
The awards – which celebrate exceptional design quality, green building, originality and efficiency in the commercial, industrial, residential and other property spaces – showcase some of the country’s most prestigious property developments and refurbishments.
Paragon Interface Architects associate Kristy Schoombie points out that the 2017 Sapoa convention took place under the theme of ‘Disruption’, with the aim of challenging the industry’s knowledge base, giving the opportunity to explore the innovation inherent in disruptive technology in real estate.
In addition to the award for Sasol Place, the group also won an award for the GE Africa Innovation Centre in Houghton, Johannesburg.