Arising from a successful competitive bid process, this corporate office complex has become a prominent piece of Umhlanga’s new urbanism. Conceived as two office buildings arranged around a landscape forecourt, the buildings are prominently positioned alongside a busy traffic circle newer the Gateway Shopping Centre on a busy arterial. The Ridgeview office received the SAPOA award for the best commercial building in South Africa for 2016 and has been awarded a 5 green star design rating.
The architectural expression of the complex is characterized by a suite of crafted facades which contextualize the construct in its subtropical environment. Conceptually, while the two buildings developed by Growthpoint form a consolidated campus, the Illovo building is a corporate head office and Ridgeview a premium grade speculative office building. Ridgeview is generated on the basis of maximizing flexibility facilitating a range of tenancy configurations while Illovo is a bespoke solution. By locating the cores on the North West edge of the buildings and accessing eccentrically on the footprints at the grade parking level, useable office spaces of differing sizes are provided on either side of the core and at various levels of the buildings. On the uppermost levels, the disparately sized wings are linked across internal atria to provide a single occupancy. The sectional arrangement on the most prominent corners of the site is inversely stepped to promote larger office floor plates as the higher the buildings rise. This strategy promotes better views with increased elevation in line with larger workspaces and simultaneously creates the iconic quality of the buildings.
The most remarkable feature exhibited by the buildings is the filtered facades on the south west and North West facades in response to the sites' urban interface and solar orientation. Highly tuned and carefully shaped fritted glass solar fins are suspended off curtain-wall office fenestration on these key facades. These elements are both visually permeable and view friendly, providing a constantly variable and unique, functional building skin which delivers beautifully controlled light into internal spaces.
Entrance to both is gained off an indigenous landscaped central parking courtyard via voluminous atria. Transparent entrance articulation announces the reception foyers and the spaces are warmly treated in timber clad ceilings and crafted reception joinery. Internally, the office floor plates are arranged over four levels above the entrance space. Visual connection to the courtyard, busy urban condition towards Gateway, to distant ocean and to Durban's CBD views is achieved on all workspace levels. Careful consideration in respect of capturing external views, balance of work functionality and communal spaces have certainly delivered an outstanding workplace environment in these buildings have set a new paradigm for Umhlanga's office park offerings.