Andrew Bell

115 West Street Office Building in South Africa by Paragon Architects

Project Details
  • Location: Joannesburg, South Africa
  • Construction Area: 100 000 sqm
  • Rentable Area: 37 500 sqm
  • Architects: Paragon Architects
  • Interior architecture: Paragon Interface
  • Structural engineer: Sotiralis Consulting
  • Quantity Surveyor: Schoombie Hartman
  • Contractor: WBHO/Tiber
  • Developer: Zenprop
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Andrew Bell
Design/Documentation Software
  • Architects, base building and interior: BIM and Revit Design
  • Structural engineer: Revit Structure
  • Project manager: Navisworks
  • Consultants in Revit MEP
  • Service co-ordination: Revit Architecture
  • Green Star consultant: Ecotect and other plug-ins
  • Paragon Interface: 870 individual drawings
  • Paragon Architects: 775 individual drawings

The 115 West Street office building is the new headquarters for a South African financial services company. Opposite the new high speed Gautrain station, it is for many visitors to South Africa, the first building they will encounter beyond the airport.

The design of the building draws its concept from the difficult north-west orientation (remembering the southern hemisphere location) and the need to adhere to new energy legislation in South Africa. The country shares a green accreditation system with Australia and New Zealand. The building has been accredited with a 4 Star Green Star Design V1 rating. This will be confirmed as an as built rating in March 2013.


The 2400 staff member building has extensive grey water systems, passive heating and cooling systems and high performance glazing with louvres to shade from the afternoon sun. The east and west elevations are characterised by scalloped profiled zinc sheeting. The design required a flexible building hence the large floor plates, punctuated by two atria to maximise the natural daylight into the office spaces and the ground floor below which was designed to create a park like environment with the introduction of 6m high Ficus Benjamina trees, sunken into the floor. The light sources are twelve giant 8.4m cones, which float above the atrium space like giant clouds.

The project is essentially an office building but includes a wide variety of staff facilities including: a crèche, a gym, 6 parking levels, a smoking room ( on basement level 2, separate ventilation was required because of current smoking regulations) prayer rooms, Muslim and Interdenominational; a beauty parlour, health studio, with physio-therapist, 200 seater auditorium, state of the art AV meeting rooms, a multipurpose room; staff training rooms, a fully integrated caterers kitchen and canteen, coffee shop, bar and wine cellar.

The building also features 1800 parking bays over 6 basement levels. Preferred bays for car pooling and hybrid vehicles are included with provision made for 140 bicycle bays, as well as shower and change facilities.

The external areas are xeriscaped with indigenous low water consumption plants. The work areas are punctuated with colourful breakout spaces to provide relaxation areas for the staff with re-cycling facilities to assist with the change of mindset regarding sustainable office culture.

You can read more detail about the project, from conception to completion here.

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