Basil Read’s building division has completed the second phase of the construction company’s new headquarters, with most of the group’s divisions and some subsidiaries taking occupation as of 30 March 2012.
In early 2011 Studio mhr Architects were approached by Basil Read to design a 11500m² phase 2 office building. Taking just over one year to complete, the phased approach allowed Basil Read to develop according to their growing needs. The new offices, situated on the corner of North Rand and Romeo streets, Hughes, Boksburg are known as the Basil Read Campus and is now the new base for over 400 employees of Basil Read and some of its subsidiaries.
“The brief required us to take cognizance of the design principles and concepts utilised on the initial phase, thus ensuring cohesion and flow between the two buildings,” says Henry Eksteen of Studio mhr Architects. “The vast scale of the structure allows the building to visually interact with North Rand road whilst still maximising exposure along Romeo street. The building’s envelope has been designed to create a well-defined entertainment area which offers privacy from the busy surrounding roads. The courtyard space creates a welcoming relaxed atmosphere for visitors and plays a very important role in the overall work environment of staff. As part of the brief we were also required to maximise the developmental capacity of the site, thus one of the challenges was to incorporate green areas. To overcome this obstacle we reverted to the context of phase one, and designed the new phase to incorporate the green areas of the adjacent site. This allowed us to fully develop the site but still retain a sense of openness and a connection with nature.”
As is good practice, Studio mhr Architects incorporated ‘green’ building initiatives with regards to water saving and energy efficiency. Rainwater from the roof and ground water from the sub-soil drainage system is collected and used for irrigation. To further reduce water consumption and increase biodiversity only indigenous plants were used in the landscape. Large glazed façades were incorporated into the design to reduce dependency on artificial light and also ensure that uninterrupted views to the outside were assured no matter where in the building the user is. The large concrete overhangs on the northern façade posed a structural challenge for the engineers but once constructed the importance of these shading elements on the facade were evident. Inside the building, taps operate electronically to reduce waste, motion operated light sensors switch energy efficient lights on only when required and heat energy is harvested from the air conditioning system and diverted back into the hot water system, eliminating the need for any other means of heating water.
Facets Interiors were tasked to design the office interiors for phase 2 in a way that would reflect Basil Read’s corporate image, whilst also complementing the interior of the buildings public spaces. “The ideas in phase 2 are different from phase 1 but do lead very well from phase 1,” says Facets Interiors director Sarah Mentis. “The project is contemporary and the interiors are sleek and clean in keeping with the architecture of the building. The graphics tell the story of Basil Read’s different business divisions as well as providing beautiful artwork to the spaces.” Facets were responsible for the interiors of the office areas and Studio mhr Architects handled the public area interiors.
The following divisions are located at the new headquarters: Basil Read Mining, Basil Read Construction, including Basil Read Roads Basil Read Civils and Basil Read Buildings as well as support departments such as HR, Accounts, Estimating, Procurement, SHEQ, Risk & Legal, IT, Planning & Technical, and the Basil Read Plant Department. Group companies Blasting & Excavating and Roadcrete Africa are also based at the new offices. Basil Read Special Projects will remain at its premises in Homestead, Rivonia for the time being while and will move to the Basil Read Campus early 2013. Subsidiary TWP will remain at their premises in Melrose Arch, with a new building also in the pipeline at Melrose Arch.