In this project we were required to create an energizing, uplifting work environment by linking a new, high-tech construction to the existing building, a 1940’s single storey house.
The clients requested that the building be independent from the electrical and water utilities by means of on-site production, harvesting, and efficiency. The carbon footprint had to be minimal and had to be evaluated carefully, considering, for example, the objective performance of a given material against other parameters such as embodied energy, locally produced versus imported, recyclability, conserving energy, harvesting water, and preserving existing architecture versus demolition.
We realized that the necessity of integrating a significant amount of sustainable technology and materials in the design of the building would pose a new challenge, creating the opportunity to generate a new, fresh aesthetic.
The metallic, modern aesthetic of the new structure had to read with the aesthetic of the adjacent existing house, whilst maintaining the architectural integrity of both buildings. To achieve this, the base of the old house and the base of the new structure were clad in sandstone, and the old tiled roof on the existing house was removed and replaced with corrugated steel sheeting, which was painted in the same charcoal colour as the new façade: the two buildings are now aesthetically linked through the consistency of material and colours.
The design concept for the new structure was to design the work area in the upper floors as a very light, ethereal space floating on a solid stone base. The approach to the development of the design was to allow the functional 'green' elements of the building, as well as the structure of the building, to drive the aesthetic, by showing them with integrity and refining them into a simple, elegant structure.
The primary consideration with regards to making the building energy efficient was passive solar design, which informed the orientation of the building, and the design of the facades. The louvers on long east and west glass facades shade the glass in summer, and admit sun in winter. They have been placed away from the glass facades in order to facilitate ventilation. On the north façade of the new building, the facilitating steel structure which supports both the louvres and photovoltaic panels is an aesthetic feature. The angle of the panels has to change constantly according to the seasons to maximise electricity output.
The second aspect to be dealt with was the active solar technologies such as the solar water heating for the under-floor heating pipes, and the photovoltaic technology that powers the essential electrics such as computers, lights and fridges. Such technologies pose the dual challenge of being bulky and are also in continuous evolution. Our response was to create a relatively flexible framework, and integrate it into the overall rhythm of the building.
The additional cost of the solar and water harvesting technology meant that, to keep the building cost within market related parameters, we decided to keep the internal finishes of the building very “raw” and industrial, with concrete floors and exposed off shutter concrete soffits. These contrast with the carefully selected contemporary art and furniture, creating an edgy, modern interior.
GIFA Award for Architecture, 2009
SAIA Award of Merit, 2010
AVI, Bryanston, Johannesburg
Due to the expansion of staff and significant growth of the company over the last 10 years, AVI required office extensions in order to provide adequate working space for staff and new company services. The extensions include open plan offices, a new canteen, auditorium and multipurpose rooms. As the building contains various independent yet interacting departments, the alterations had to allow for seamless movement between spaces.
Design and construction challenges lay within merging the new wings with the old building, and integrating the new aesthetic throughout the entire complex. The atrium of the existing building was re-designed to form the nexus between old and new – natural lighting and high volumes turn this into the heart of the complex, allowing for comfortable interaction between various users and departments.
An important factor of the brief was to rebrand the building’s aesthetic to align with the company’s values and contemporary thinking. The innovative and efficient nature of the company is manifested and captured within a new building skin, encasing the new and existing wings. This skin consists of louvres which passively control heat gain – allowing for maximum heat gain in winter and maximum shade in summer. The design of the louvers on the façade has been generated by a parametric process, which ensures that the façade responds precisely to the various sun angles along the full length of the buildings' perimeter.
In this manner, the louvers not only become an aesthetic statement of the AVI brand, but form part of an overall approach to sustainability within the development. This approach includes the use of a brownfield site, and integration of an existing building, as an important sustainability consideration. The building also makes us of rainwater tanks as an alternative water source, and has an extensive photovoltaic array on the rooftop to provide portions of the building with clean energy.
Space, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg
Space was designed by Daffonchio & Associates as the new function and event venue for Ten Bompas, a boutique hotel and member of the ''Design Hotel'' group.
Constructed out of steel and glass, Space resembles a light-box that floats high above the ground. The minimalist design contrasts with the hotel’s lush gardens and tall trees. The western wall incorporates an integrated African pattern with irregularly spaced windows, while the south of Space overlooks the hotel’s lawn and organic vegetable gardens.
The design of Space employs energy efficient elements such as solar water heating, rainwater harvesting and LED lights.
The interior design is minimalist and fresh, with light bamboo floors and white walls, contrasted with colourful contemporary Italian furniture and South African art. Sleek bathrooms and a protruding terrace with a customised floating steel bench complete the design.
Consol, Stellenbosch, Western Cape
This project was one of a few nationwide refurbishments and new builds that Daffonchio and Associates was involved in. Consol Glass in Stellenbosch was a new build, and was the original Head Office for Consol Glass. The development includes office space of approximately 1,000 square meters, a distribution warehouse of approximately 13,000 square meters, and the first Consol Xprs shop.
The design responds to the location by reinterpreting the Cape Dutch vernacular in a contemporary way, with a timber louver on the west facade cut out in a Cape Dutch profile, and the exterior palette a combination of black, white and timber. The timber louver acts as sun control, shading the western facade from intense western sunlight. The building takes the form of a glass box, anchored by white walls, with a light, pitched roof floating over it.
Internally, the pitched ceilings are clad in cherry wood, with light washing down from clerestorey windows which run down the centre of the building along its full length.
The indigenous landscaping continues the environmentally sustainable approach to the development, whilst further contextualising the development within its surroundings.