With a 12-month construction programme ending 15 February 2022, the striking new building is the result of an incredible team effort. Developed by Intaprop, designed by GHL Architects (base building architecture), Paragon Interface (interior architecture and design) and built by Concor and professionally accredited by sustainability consultancy Solid Green, together with several other consultants and contractors. Concor contracts manager Martin Muller sums up the finished product by saying: “The entire project looks amazing and adds to the overall scheme of the Oxford Parks precinct.” Indeed, nestled into its position at 7 Parks Boulevard, the high-quality building serves to exemplify a node which embodies a modern, dynamic, high-street culture together with the connectivity of business, life and leisure.
“At Anglo American, everything we do is driven by our purpose, which is to re-imagine mining to improve people’s lives. A core part of that is our contribution, on a day-to-day basis, to help usher in a low-carbon future. We are aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040, with an ambition to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 50% – also by 2040,” says Anton Uys, corporate services manager for the Anglo American Group in South Africa.
Comprising of four basement floors and four office floors, the building has been designed with sustainability features throughout. “Elements such as solar and water harvesting, wet waste composting, recycling and a range of energy efficiency interventions have been incorporated,” says Uys. “In addition, we are applying the principles of a circular economy by using as many elements as possible from our old building and donating other furniture and fixtures to non-profit organisations in desperate need of these.” In terms of Green Star, three main requirements had to be met before the project commenced with demolition and construction: a Waste Management Plan (WMP), an Environmental Management Plan (EMP), and a Hazardous Waste Management Surveyon existing buildings. To reduce waste to landfill during building operations, a waste recycling storage was provided in the basement, which accommodated paper and cardboard, plastic, glass and cans as well as metals. Great care was taken to ensure that all selected gaseous and fire suppression systems, refrigerants and thermal insulants used for the development had an Ozone Depleting Potential (OPD) of zero to eliminate any contributions to long-term damage to the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer
A MODEL FOR EFFICIENCY
To minimise greenhouse gas emissions associated with operational energy consumption, an energy model of the building was generated during the design state, comparing the building to a SANS 10400 notional building model. This energy model has helped to inform the building design to ensure a high-performing building, both externally and internally. The building is equipped with solar panels with a capacity of 230kWp; with an annual energy production of 385 500kWh, which serves to reduce its reliance on energy produced from coal substantially, thus reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint.
Inside the building, modelling enabled internal operative temperatures to be assessed, to ensure that they fell within the ASHRAE Standard 55-2004 Acceptability Limits for at least 98% of occupied hours, thereby ensuring a high level of thermal comfort. Building Glazing Performance modelling was also carried out and performance values were agreed with the architect and mechanical engineer. In terms of reducing energy consumption inside, all individual or enclosed spaces are individually switched with occupancy sensors. The project also saves energy by providing office lighting that is not over-designed, with an average maintained illuminance level of no more than 400 lux.
“The interiors were designed and constructed to give each user a soothing experience, with good flow and natural light used for user comfort,” said Muller, in terms of which sustainability features really stood out for him. Automated blinds perform an important role, along with environmental strategies which have been implemented to enhance the wellbeing of the building’s users such as ample fresh air, access to external views and plenty of natural daylight. Sub-metering of major energy consuming systems is in place, along with sub-metering of water usage. Water reduction has to be a key goal for every green building, and Ikusasa works towards this through the installation of water efficient fittings which limit occupant water usage.
“The project will also target the Watercourse Pollution credit, which deals with stormwater runoff. It is important that a development like this tries to capture the stormwater and reuse it within the building or within the precinct. The system has also been designed so that minimal pollutants and trash are diverted to municipal stormwater channels,” explains
Annelide Sherratt, Head of Department: Green Building Certifications, Solid Green Consulting.
progressive in that the design advocates Anglo American’s commitment to progress and improvement; and minimalistic in that simple elements are used to create maximum effect; not only in the design sense but towards a people-led space which encourages inclusivity and diversity, collaboration and innovative thinking,” says Karam. “As an atmospheric pallet, the materiality of the space ties in a rich combination of textures though ‘engineered and expressive detailing’ in an interplay of technical materials and natural elements. The lighter tones within design are infused and celebrated by a minimal yet impactful positive use of pops of colour which reflect Anglo Americans core
Karam goes on to say that to create a meaningful space, the design intent draws from Anglo American’s South African influences, and interweaves the brand’s rich history, mining landscapes and peoples – authentically embodying a South African Anglo-American aesthetic in bold use of colour and design elements. Further, the design draws from the humane and responsive urban nature of the Oxford Parks precinct, bridging the outside and inside relationships by leveraging the use of indoor planting and materiality.
Given the proven benefits of biophilia (the innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings) the Ikusasa building has an indoor horticultural maintenance plan that provides one plant unit for every 50m² of regularly occupied space and specifies that at least 70% of the plants incorporated into the fitout are suited to indoor environments.
“The interior spatial framework includes shared employee value propositions such as the restaurant, coffee shop and a diverse set of more work focused environments such as an innovation hub, showcases. The framework puts forward the concept of a ‘future smart workplace’, an idea which draws on contemporary workplace tools and technology to empower employees, providing them the opportunity to creatively work within a flexible and adaptable system according to their diverse and specific needs, towards enabling concentrated work, as well as facilitating agile and adaptive business, while strengthening social collaboration between colleagues,” says Karam.
When it comes to the furniture fitout, all primary workspaces – with items including but not limited to the desk, workstation, restaurant/coffee shop counters, reception counter or similar furniture designed for a specific task – need to be compliant with ergonomic requirements which have been set out by a trained professional. The ergonomics professional also conducts an assessment for each user interacting with the workspace. Jason Mazaham of Perception
Architects was the universal access consultant on the project, reviewing and commenting on access
throughout the building to ensure inclusivity and access within and throughout the building.
A sustainable building relies on a location that iswithin a short walking distance of public transportoptions. The Ikusasa building has two different modes of public transport stops within one kilometre, and cyclist facilities are available for those who choose to commute via bicycle between home and work. There are dedicated tenant parking spaces for transport options which are more efficient than cars, such as mopeds, scooters, motorbikes, carpooling and/or electric vehicles.
“We are aware that we will not achieve our sustainability goals unless we take the necessary steps, and the design and how we approach our corporate office buildings, like the Ikusasa Building on Oxford Parks, is one such example of how we are living our purpose,” concludes Uys