“The Vodacom Head Office in Maseru is a testament to what can be achieved when sustainability, and state-of-the-art design thinking is applied to green projects,” – Stephan Pretorius, Aurecon Associate.
In 2015, Aurecon was appointed by KTM Architects for the structural, civil, mechanical, fire, and electrical design, as well as site supervision of the R80-million Vodacom Head Office in Lesotho. The three-storey 3 631 m² building includes a call centre, open plan offices, closed offices, boardrooms, canteens, ablutions, a kitchen and a freezer room.
Covered with solar panels, the building is carbon neutral and powered by renewable energy. The new head office was opened in 2017 and, according to Vodacom, is the biggest green building in Lesotho. The goal of the building was to minimise its impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by its operation. Over 80 of the group’s 300 Lesotho base stations are also powered independently of diesel generators and the national grid, making them among the first of their kind in the world. A combination of energy-saving technologies such as wind and solar power, as well as power system optimisation, ensures business continuation for up to three hours in the event of a power failure.
One of the challenges of the project was constructing a louvre-type design on the roof. Casting the structure in situ proved too complex, so the project team had small precast concrete beams made off-site, which were then hoisted by crane onto the roof to achieve the louvre look that was desired by the architect and client.
After an assessment of the existing water network of the project site, the project team found that the average pressure reading was only 100 kPa and inadequate for the firefighting requirements for the three-storey building. Consequently, a 6 kl water tank was constructed and placed on the roof of the building to supply the fire hose reels. After performing rational design to assess likely fire risks, firefighting system pressure boosting was achieved with a single booster pump on the roof.
The Lesotho head office is the second green building that Vodacom has launched. In 2012, the company achieved South Africa’s first six-star Green Star rating for its Innovation Centre building in Midrand, Johannesburg.
“Located on Mabile Road, the new building features the company’s signature double volume red columns. It is a beautiful building in a prominent area of Lesotho and Aurecon is proud to be a part of this landmark green project,” says Stephan Pretorius.