Text description provided by the architects. 115 West Street 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.
Modelling software was used extensively generate the cones, the concrete columns and much of the interior fit out.
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.