Alice Lane 3 contributes ‘green lung’ in the heart of Sandton

Alice Lane 3 has added a much-needed ‘green lung’ in the heart of Sandton’s shopping precinct.

The development of Alice Lane 3 allowed architecture, interior design, and space-planning practice Paragon to contribute to a much-needed ‘green lung’ in the heart of Sandton’s shopping precinct.

The project was completed by property developer Abland in May, with The Pivotal Fund Ltd. as the owner. The project achieved Green Star Office V1 Design Rating v1 Achieved rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa. Its ‘green’ features include energy-efficient lighting and air-conditioning systems, with a design that maximises the use of daylighting and good views.

Alice Lane 3 is an office building located on the corner of Alice Lane and Fifth Street in Sandton’s commercial centre, forming part of the R1-billion Alice Lane mixed-use development, which includes easy access to the Sandton Gautrain station, as well as various malls, hotels and offices.

It was designed around an office anchor tenant, but includes showrooms, retail elements, and concept stores on the ground floor, which will interact with the piazza. Alice Lane 1 tenants include Marsh, Bloomberg, Standard Bank, and Virgin Active’s flagship gym, while Alice Lane 2 accommodates Sanlam and Santam.

Paragon had already designed two of the three buildings around the future piazza, which created a canvas from which to work, Founding Director Anthony Orelowitz points out. “Working with generated site line analyses and sun studies, the conceptual design chiselled away at the sculptural forms to generate refined massing, and bring sunlight into the public space, essentially using sunlight to chisel form.”

From the outset, Paragon was aware of the requirement of cellular office space for Bowmans, Orelowitz comments. To ensure that all offices were exposed to natural light, two wings were generated so that external offices and internal offices were exposed equally, thus ensuring that every office is a perimeter office.

While this building is much higher than Alice Lane 1 and 2, a common design language binds the three. However, each building highlights different materials. Unitised aluminium panels are the dominant material in Alice Lane 1, while Alice Lane 3 focuses on glass. “The glazing not only expresses the latest glass technology, but is an expression in terms of light and dark, and also day and night experiences,” Orelowitz elaborates.

Four different types of glass were used on the project, with the main characteristics being a lower U-value and a reduced solar absorption percentage. This relates to a lower glass-surface temperature which, in turn, means to a lower radiant temperature.

The volumes of Alice Lane 2 are slightly different to Alice Lane 3 in that it accommodates both Sanlam and Santam offices, so two curvaceous forms are separated by an atrium to express both companies, yet linking them at the same time.

Dubbed ‘Tall Alice’, Alice Lane 3 was designed with absolute consideration for Bowmans as the end user. Law firms typically have a higher office-to-floor-plate ratio. In addition to the office density, each unit also needed views and windows. “Hence we had to design a sculptural external element that was practical to the client’s internal operation,” Orelowitz explains. Therefore the H-shaped building allows more peripheral space for views and windows.

It is pulled together by a dramatic central atrium fed from the two cores (north and south). This separation of the two office plates also allows for easy subdivision by the developer, which can lease individual floors or portions thereof as a result.

The project also showcased Paragon’s extensive use of Revit and Rhino modelling software. The entire professional team was encouraged to work on the former in order to aid the coordination process. Working and managing the Revit models from all of the various disciplines made for a smoother flow of information and easier clash detection.

This streamlined the documentation time, boosting productivity and reducing the quantity of rework. “The consistent use of parametric modelling allowed for easy control of elements, and the ability to change or update design elements fairly quickly,” Orelowitz stresses.

The professional team included Taemane Consulting (electrical engineer), C3 Consulting Engineers (mechanical engineer), The Ochre Office (landscape architect), Quanticast (quantity surveyor), L&S Consulting (structural engineer), MG Building Services (wet services), and WBHO (main contractor).

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