Offices on Justice Mahomed

Location: Justice Mahomed Street, Menlo Park, Pretoria    Year: 2013

The brief to design an office building, on a prominent corner in the Menlo park suburb of Pretoria, was met with enthusiasm by the Architectural Team. The site is within easy reach of the CBD, just off the N1 highway and a stone’s throw from the recently revamped 13th Street Shopping Precinct, which comprises various shops and trendy cafés. The property is situated at the confluence of several streets, which demand visual impact and interest from all directions.

The plan and overall design evolved to accommodate the Client’s requirements, the restrictive rights of the property and from the triangular shape of the site. The natural fall was used to facilitate entry to a basement, which satisfies most of the required parking for the build. This allowed full development of the allocated FAR, whilst still providing adequate space for landscaping. The offices are divided into two wings, linked by a central foyer and circulation area at the North Eastern corner. The staircase is flanked by large glazed windows, providing a visual link for the occupants of the building, as well as pedestrians and commuters in Justice Mahomed Street.

The practical design of the foyer, circulation and office wings provide flexibility of usage. It is currently being leased by a single tenant, but can be divided into four separate units, should the necessity arise in the future. Street facing balconies offer ample opportunity for employees to enjoy fresh air and appreciate the panoramic view northwards. The Union Buildings are particularly eye-catching, in the distance, when illuminated in the evenings. The two office wings embrace the courtyard and focus the approach on the entrance. En route, one passes below a bespoke steel bridge and staircase, which serves the dual function of linking the offices on the first floor level and providing for emergency evacuation to the ground floor below.

The design employs a variety of materials, textures and planes in order to move away from the monotony of uniformity. The series of concrete and coloured frames emphasize the human scale and different elements of the building. Natural ventilation and daylighting is encouraged with generous, opening, window sections and predominantly open plan layout.

The architects have endeavoured to design a building that not only meets the intended requirement, but will continue to delight its occupants and passers-by with different characteristics and aspects, for years to come.

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