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Aurecon celebrates three outstanding SAPOA achievements

Tshedimosetso House

Tshedimosetso House, Tshwane

3 July 2014 - Every year during its annual South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) International Property Convention & Exhibition, SAPOA honours property innovators, developers, owners, and built environment professionals who have made a significant contribution to the enhancement of the property industry.

“The winners highlight excellence in design and innovation. They meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s needs, and reflect the cutting-edge of design in South Africa and globally,” says Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA.

Aurecon is proud to have been involved in three of this year’s award-winning projects, two of which were linked to the innovation category.

“Overall best innovation merit” winner
The Solar laboratory at Tshedimosetso House, Tshwane walked away a winner in the innovation category. Developed by Growthpoint and designed by ADO Architects, S&A Architects and Urban Design Architects, this house is the new home of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

Aurecon played the role of Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) consultants on the project, and as such, were tasked with advising the project team on the seamless inclusion of appropriate environmentally friendly technology.

The project was chosen specifically for its innovative solar façade which features photovoltaic cells integrated in the glass of the building’s façade. The façade has been linked to a research study by the University of Johannesburg in order to evaluate the broader use of this hi-tech technology in South Africa. The inclusion solar technology in this novel fashion has also hugely improved the building’s performance.

“Overall best innovation merit – best refurbishment” winner
The University of Pretoria’s Mining Industry Study Centre walked away with the award for best refurbishment. Having been built in 1974, a decision was taken to upgrade the centre by purposefully designing it to provide a place for engineering students to work afterhours and to work on group projects.

Developed by the university and designed by ARC Architects Pretoria, the centre has successfully created an on-campus study and information. The new structure was planned and designed to utilise a previously unexploited space of the existing Engineering 1 Building’s street level. Adding an additional 3 000 m2 to the existing Engineering 1 Building, it consists mainly of an arched roof and mezzanine floor, and is able to accommodate approximately 800 students.

The centre saw Aurecon provide civil, structural and wet services engineering, and is an excellent example of the ability of skilful engineering to provide durable, aesthetically pleasing structural solutions that maximise the use of available space. The practical, innovative and highly successful use of a suspended ceiling enabled the challenging time and budget requirements to be achieved.

“Industrial developments” winner
Earning a top spot in the industrial developments category was the Grundfos office and warehouse in Meadowbrook, Germiston. This is the first integrated industrial and office facility in South Africa to be awarded a GBCSA 5-Star Green Star SA Office Design rating.

Grundfos, one of the world’s leading pump manufacturers, is a committed proponent of sustainable development and innovation. In designing their new state-of-the art 3 400 m² offices and 9 000 m² high-tech warehouse in Johannesburg, two major challenges were encountered: that of a very sloped site, calling for innovative design techniques, and the need to implement Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) to the highest standards, including achieving ‘zero usage of potable water’ status.

Aurecon was commissioned as principal agent and held the responsibility for civil, structural and mechanical design and execution, as well as being Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) consultants.

In a novel design decision, the slope of the site was cleverly used to accommodate parking and a stormwater attenuation facility underneath the buildings, resulting in the need for minimal groundworks from a fill perspective, overall better space utilisation and faster construction time.

The rainwater harvesting system incorporated Grundfos’ own customised plant for purifying a portion of the rainwater in the attenuation tank to drinking water quality. This is believed to be a first in South Africa. A borehole was also drilled to supplement rainwater usage and incur a ‘zero rated user of potable water’ status – municipal water is only used if the purification plant and the borehole fail together.

The project team very successfully, through a holistic approach, achieved both the novel use of a difficult site and created a flagship headquarters which are an outstanding tribute to Grundfos’ commitment to sustainability.

“The opportunity to partner with visionary developers and project teams is a great honour for Aurecon. As such, we congratulate them on these outstanding SAPOA achievements,” concludes Aurecon’s Industry Leader, Property, Ermis Marques.

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