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Mixed-use developments drive trend for convenience and integration

By Paragon Media

Mixed-use developments are a growing trend in the residential property development market because they reduce travel time for residents and offer more convenience, choice and an integrated lifestyle. On the part of developers, the decision-making involved may be more complex, but this can be balanced against more robust income models. “All in all, mixed-use developments represent a positive alternative to our disintegrated, mono-functional South African cities,” comments Paragon Group Director Henning Rasmuss.

The Melrose Arch development in Johannesburg, in which Paragon Architects participated as a start-up design practice, first prodded developers into considering mixed-use precincts as an alternative model. However, complacency and the resistance of banks and their credit risk committees to merged and mixed income models have scuppered many a mixed-use project in the past. The contracting economy and more demanding, urbanised and car-less, younger middle-class consumers are changing that though.

Rasmuss points to many capacity constraints affecting development at the moment. Affordability limits are squeezing the number of square metres, coupled with young upper middle-class consumers still opting for traditional first-time home ownership. This is also partly due to the fact that the traditional South African city has working, living and playing areas neatly separated by vehicle corridors.

“Overlay apartheid spatial planning onto this, and we end up with dysfunctional cities that are expensive, inefficient and alienating. Some of the mixed-use trends derive from consumer demand and a new perception of city life as something desirable with high amenity and social value,” highlights Rasmuss.

A major driver of mixed-use developments in South Africa is the massive shift in ownership of B-grade and C-grade office buildings due to Covid-19, many of which are now available for residential redevelopment. “There is not much else one can do with those workplaces left behind by shrinking companies. Costs of transport, non-available infrastructure budgets and a general demand for urban convenience are driving housing demand to shopping malls, which have additional challenges of underperformance and can support additional bulk off existing infrastructure,” stresses Rasmuss.

Bulking-up developments on top of or next to shopping malls and their parking lots can insert additional housing adjacent to malls. Associated trends include micro-living in highly-serviced buildings, highly-branded low-cost urban renewal projects and, for the mass market, price-point-driven walk-up apartments, with student housing falling somewhere into the low-cost refurbishment market.

An example of a contemporary large new-build mixed-use project is the Harbour Arch precinct in Cape Town, which Rasmuss acknowledges “is probably leading the way.” The 5.8 ha Harbour Arch development by the Amdec Group will be home to six individual tower blocks with a total 200 000 m² of usable space, making it the first and largest mixed-use development of its kind in the Cape Town central business district.

It is comparable to the Melrose Arch precinct in Johannesburg, and will encapsulate the principles of New Urban living. This presents opportunities for people to live, work, play, relax and stay in a safe, convenient, enjoyable and sustainable community-focused environment. Expansions and redevelopments in the Cape Quarter similarly show that there is viable demand.

While Paragon is not involved with Harbour Arch, there are a number of mixed-use developments that are on the Group’s radar. Also in Cape Town, it is working on an intricate site in the City Bowl that encompasses varied development functions. A super-flexible masterplan is afoot at the Newlands Rugby Stadium, while in Nelson Mandela Bay the architecture and interior architecture group is working on a mixed-use precinct centred around sport as a connector. “It is interesting that open spaces are becoming desirable and valued, especially in tough South African urban settings,” notes Rasmuss.

In Malawi, Paragon Group is working on a mixed-use precinct in Lilongwe adjacent to the airport, based on the Millennium Development Goals as a design driver. In Angola, it is being commissioned to design a super-integrated business and living complex in the middle of Talatona. “That project will have ‘a little bit of everything’ and opens up opportunities for multiple smaller co-developers, breaking the mould of dominant family-based control of major projects in that city. It is a large site that can comfortably be phased,” elaborates Rasmuss.

From a continental perspective, Rasmuss points to the traditional East African super-mixed-use multi-storey retail and residential complexes that line so many streets in Kampala and Kigali, and also Accra and Dakar. “There are definitely lessons here about what can be achieved,” he adds. Hence mixed-use is quite natural on large parts of the continent.

“It is important to think of mixed-use as ‘the natural normal’, and not as a new and risky thing. It is how people want to live – naturally. What happened under the tenets of modernist planning is that people across the world had their lives disaggregated and distorted. There is hopefully now a reversal to ‘real cities for real people’,” predicts Rasmuss.

Paragon Architects designs integrated plant for leading German medical device and pharmaceutical company

By Paragon Media

When German multinational B.Braun decided to establish a new integrated pharmaceutical plant in Longlake 20 Business Park in Johannesburg, property developer Zenprop turned to Paragon Architects South Africa (PASA), part of the Paragon Group. Representing one of the most significant industrial investments in South Africa in recent times, the project included office, laboratory, warehousing and production spaces, with a total gross area of 6 435 m2.

Situated on a highly-visible Greenfield site along the busy Longmeadow Boulevard, the facility also overlooks the picturesque Modderfontein reserve. PASA Architect Benjamin Chihota points out that industrial buildings tend to be large monolithic structures, and that the intention on this project was to humanise the scale of the facility while maintaining a simple and coherent architectural language.

The best means to achieve this was by using dynamic forms to reduce the overall scale. For example, breaking up large masses into smaller forms resulting in fragmented roof and façade forms and heights. This de-emphasises the scale of the facility within a largely under-developed landscape, while making use of high-quality and robust materials that are easy to maintain.

“The brief for an integrated pharmaceutical plant made for a complex typology because there are so many layers before you even get to the architectural design itself,” comments Chihota. Instead of a typical industrial facility, PASA was determined that the end result be a signature project that not only complements the surrounding business park aesthetic, but which also expresses the corporate identity of B.Braun itself.

“As a multinational, there is obviously an existing brand image that we needed to maintain. This meant developing a specific design language for the exterior, interior and the landscaping, but obviously still keeping within a South African context. Being one of the few new projects of this type and size built in South Africa to date, it really gave us an opportunity to showcase what we are capable of in the industrial sector,” elaborates Chihota.

The design process began in 2018, based on extensive consultation with the client and tenant. Construction commenced on-site in January 2019, with practical completion achieved in April and works completion in November 2020. Despite a delay due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, PASA saw the project through to its successful conclusion.

Planning and coordinating the functionality of the facility was perhaps the biggest challenge. Apart from the office and laboratory component, there is also warehousing space for incoming raw materials and outgoing products. Changerooms for workers to change in was also critical, in addition to the production component itself, which is the heart of the facility.

“In terms of the actual architecture, firstly we had to keep the client in mind and the highly specialised nature of this facility and its specific requirements. We also had to adhere to the development guidelines of the business park itself, while at the same time staying true to the design ethos of PASA and what makes us unique as a practice,” highlights Chihota.

The design process involved fragmenting the vertical and horizontal extents of the facility to reduce its scale. To give depth to the building mass, elements of the roof and façade were pulled out. To give the building envelope a rhythmic pattern, the roof sheeting and façade cladding’s contrasting colours stepped-in sections allowed for fluid connectivity that merged with the walls and wrapped around the windows. “That comes across in different ways in both the office and the warehouse. With most projects, you start out with an initial idea that invariably goes through different iterations, but ultimately it is a concept you stay true to right up to the final design,” stresses Chihota.

The major engineering challenge was coordinating the different services. Most projects require standard wet, electrical, fire and HVAC services. However, B.Braun had hi-tech pharmaceutical process equipment with very specific functional requirements thrown into the mix. “We really worked together well as a professional team in overcoming all of these different challenges,” notes Chihota. “The developer was very open to our ideas and willing to take them onboard. While we have a longstanding relationship with Zenprop that we are continually nurturing, it is equally important that we establish close ties with other consultants as well.”

The Paragon Group has a growing footprint in the industrial sector, which Chihota sees as a burgeoning market going forward. “The e-commerce sector is booming, as can be seen by the increasing demand for warehousing space, while the demand for commercial office space is stagnant. What gives us a leading edge in this sector is our reputation for delivering on time and within budget, being professional at all times, and being accessible to our clients,” he concludes.

Professional Team

Developer: Zenprop

Tenant: B.Braun

Project Manager: Capex Projects

Architect: Paragon Architects South Africa (Project Director Thulani Sibande, Project Leader

Benjamin Chihota and team members Suvaniya Pillay and Kirti Mistry)

Quantity Surveyor: Schoombie Hartmann

Civil and structural engineer: DG Consulting Engineers

Mechanical Engineers: WSP

Electrical Engineer: Topack Consulting Electrical Engineer

Fire Consultant: Chimera Fire Protection Consultants

Wet Services Engineer: Izazi Consulting Engineers

Paragon Group remains committed to developing new talent

By Paragon Media

Bringing in new blood is important to ensure sustainability and creativity throughout the architecture profession. Over the past few years, the Paragon Group has committed itself to develop young talent by employing a number of new graduates each year and training them until they become fully-registered professionals.

“This facilitates their growth mindset and builds mental toughness. It assists in diversifying their goals, whether to become project architects, leaders in principal agencies, or design-orientated,” comments Thulani Sibande, Director of Paragon Architects South Africa (PASA).

As part of the Paragon Group design businesses, PASA shares the same sentiments about staff training. It always strives to ensure its staff members are fully trained in order to achieve the necessary compliance required by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), the industry governing body.

“Most importantly, we ensure that all our young architects are given an equal opportunity to run and manage upcoming new projects, while enjoying full assistance from directors or senior colleagues to ensure deliverables and consistency throughout the duration of the project,” explains Sibande, who was a 2019 judge at the 2019 & 2020 Corobrik Student Architecture Awards, held in the form of a hybrid virtual event in early June.

The winners were announced at a first-ever hybrid event in Johannesburg on Thursday 10 June. The 2019 awards ceremony had to be postponed due to Covid-19, but Corobrik adapted and instead decided to host the 2019 and 2020 awards ceremonies together in a single exclusive event.

“It has been a privilege to be part of the 2019 jury panel. It was such a great opportunity to see our upcoming young architects portray their talent and pave the direction in which architecture is heading,” comments Sibande. He adds that longstanding competitions such as the Corobrik Student Architecture Awards, which has been running for over 30 years, are critical to nurturing young talent in the architectural community.

While Covid-19 has definitely resulted in the Paragon Group restructuring certain elements of its business, its mandate to mentor and develop new talent remains consistent in order not to disrupt day-to-day deliverables. Sibande adds that work exchange opportunities remain a challenge in the current economic climate, fuelled by the ongoing pandemic, but enquiries remain in place, which is promising.

“If such opportunities come our way, we would definitely love to see our young architects exposed to working in other parts of Africa so as to understand the dynamics of working on the continent. My advice is that they should go for it, as this is a rare career where one can solve problems by being creative. Architects are constantly solving problems, as it is such a challenge to consider all aspects of a building’s requirements, from the design to the structural elements, aesthetics and much more,” Sibande concludes.

Paragon remains stalwart in its support of gender parity as it navigates the Covid-19 crisis

By Paragon-1

 It is so important to demonstrate opportunities for career advancement at present. “Morale throughout the profession is not at its best during these extraordinary and trying times, yet we continue to grow and excel and produce great work for our clients,” says Paragon Interface Senior Associate Kirstin Cavanagh.

Recently appointed to her new role, Kirstin perceives this as a much-appreciated milestone along her career path. “On a personal level, it is a great achievement as it really confirms that one can continue to progress in a career and establish a family simultaneously – something that I was afraid would not be possible for me when I became a parent two years ago.”

Paragon Interface, the interior architecture company of the Paragon Group, has a particular expertise in workplace strategy. Covid-19 has motivated many organisations to start thinking about what the office space means and how the office will, should and could be used going into the future.

“This has given us great opportunities to explore new ways of working with our clients, as they have become a lot more open to ideas around flexible and hybrid work practices. The challenge is that we do not know how long the coronavirus is going to be around for, and exactly what we should be planning for in that regard – flexibility and agility are therefore key considerations.”

Kirstin adds that family structures and home and work life have all been disrupted by Covid-19. “I have tried to keep things like daily routines as normal as possible to give myself some semblance of control. I have also managed to keep extremely busy, which is always a great coping mechanism when things are turned upside down.”

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“This has given us great opportunities to explore new ways of working with our clients.” – Kirstin Cavanagh

“I always wonder if I am really making a difference and reaching my goals,” reflects newly-appointed Paragon Architects Senior Associate Antoinette Kloppers. “This great recognition and the congratulations I received have brought a refreshing perspective on how I have grown in my career. The world is going through a lot of challenges at the moment. Paragon sees those challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, instead of stagnating due to difficulties.

“In the past year, we have had to rethink everything. We have had to create opportunities and new ways of learning and mentoring, especially when you have to explain math to your child on equations you have forgotten about. One cannot grow without trials, and as much as we faced many difficulties, you can find at least one lesson learnt in every challenge faced.”

A notable achievement for Antoinette is that, after five years of balancing work, family life and studying, she has completed her studies with the Association of Arbitrators and is now qualified as an arbitrator. Her message to her fellow female colleagues and the profession on the occasion of Women’s Day 2021 is: “Work hard and follow your own unique growth path.”

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“We have had to create opportunities and new ways of learning and mentoring.” – Antoinette Kloppers

Kim Newell has just been appointed an Associate at Paragon Architects. “From a personal perspective, I am really proud. It means a lot to me to be recognised within the company. In terms of my professional career, it gives me the opportunity to grow further and contribute towards growth at Paragon. I am looking forward to the journey ahead. The last year-and-a-half has been tough for the industry as a whole, and the entire team at Paragon has worked incredibly hard.”

Remote working has been challenging, notes Kim. “As architects, we are so used to sitting around a table brainstorming design challenges. We have had to rethink the way we do this, and working over video calls is not the same. As we slowly move back into the office, this will become easier. Balance is not easy – it is more about juggling priorities. Exercise and time off help me manage stress levels.”

On the occasion of Women’s Day 2021, Kim reflects how fortunate she is to work at an architectural firm that prioritises gender parity. “There are strong women in the team who chose to build each other up rather than break each other down – this is not always the case in the construction industry, and something we should work towards.”

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“As architects, we are so used to sitting around a table brainstorming design challenges.” – Kim Newell

Newly-appointed Paragon Interface Senior Associate Kirsty Schoombie says she is very excited about the challenges presented by her senior role. “I will continue to strive for excellence in design, to learn and grow every day, while mentoring the younger generation of talented designers. As we navigate through this uncertain journey, the recognition shown is of paramount importance. Paragon has a culture of growth and collaboration that pushes individuals such as myself to climb the ladder and better ourselves every day.”

Kirsty acknowledges that Covid-19 has brought about both opportunities and challenges for the team. “We have pulled together during this time to build a stronger base, ready to face the future.” In this regard, hybrid working has brought about a new way of collaborating with both the team and clients.

“We have completed several beautiful interior fit-outs, secured additional clients, and retained strong client relationships in these trying times. Paragon Interface has researched the new hybrid way of working in depth and is busy implementing it for several clients, which is both challenging and an exciting new way of design and communication.”

As a company, Paragon Group strives to remain positive and productive, while keeping the creative juices flowing. “Our staff are motivated through constant collaboration with our clients and consultants, as well as the team. We have endeavoured to instil a balance between work and home lives by creating a strong support system within the group.”

Kirsty concludes: “As a woman in the architectural profession, I endeavour to accomplish all of these goals on a daily basis, with my team and the larger female community of designers. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.”

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“There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” – Kirsty Schoombie

Paragon Architects transforms taxi rank into final office building in Sasol precinct

By Paragon Media

The existing taxi rank on the corner of Katherine Street and Albertyn Road has been transformed into a P-grade office development by Paragon Architects. The Alchemy Properties project, known as 52 Katherine Street, completes the so-called Sasol precinct with a strong street-facing presence.

The design brief was to maximise the permissible floor area ratio, coverage and height as far as possible on what was a complicated site. Standing at a total of four storeys above ground, the building consists of 3.5 basement parking levels. Paragon Architects was responsible for completing Stages 1 through 6 of the works, explains Associate Warren Wesson.

Following bulk earthworks, which took about three months to complete, the main contact commenced in October 2019. The project was scheduled to be completed in December 2020, but was halted due to the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

Once the project was allowed to restart safely, it took a while for the contractor to rebuild lost momentum. Challenges included getting materials to site in time. In addition, the contractor also had to manage additional Covid-19 safety measures. Combined with a very wet summer, the final completion date was eventually moved to April 2021.

The white marble looking walls and strong undulating geometric design of 52 Katherine Street contrasts strongly against the dark organic slate tiled basement façade design of the Sasol head office, giving it its own identity and presence outside of the Sasol precinct.

The façade consists of strong horizontal and vertical elements made up of full-vision dark low-emissivity windows and solid white cladded ceramic tiled walls. The façade is articulated to allow light and views to filter into every office module. The undulating nature of the design creates balconies towards the north and east façade, giving spectacular views over Sandton.

The undulating geometry of the build creates private courtyards in unexpected areas. These courtyards materials include water features, recessed seating and soft surrounding landscaping, which adds to a cool, quiet and shaded atmosphere outside of a busy, loud and hot urban environment.

The building design maximises the coverage of the entire site. Its close proximity to the Sasol head office presented design challenges relating to fire design and compliance. The whole of the south and long west building façade faces onto the Sasol basement façade. Special fireproof Pyron glass had to be introduced for office planning along that façade to receive natural light.

While 52 Katherine Street may look like a simple building, it is in fact very complicated in its interface detailing with regard to the use of glass, aluminium, steel, brickwork and ceramic tiling. “It shows that Paragon Architects can deliver high-quality, cost-effective buildings without the use of the more commonly used and costly unitised aluminium system seen mostly all over Sandton today,” concludes Wesson.

Paragon Architects collaborates with MultiCAD of Ghana on major commercial office project in Appolonia City

By Paragon Media

Paragon Architects has collaborated with respected Ghanaian multi-disciplinary design practice MultiCAD on the first commercial office building at Appolonia City for Gateway Real Estate Africa (GREA). The Grade A commercial complex will offer both corporate office and retail space, and be anchored by Appolonia City to house its headquarters and sales office. A total of $4 million will be invested in the first phase of the project.

 

Appolonia City is a 2 325 acre master-planned new city in Greater Accra. Designed and delivered by Rendeavour, Africa’s largest city developer, it caters for integrated living. With more than 500 homes completed or under construction, it is rapidly becoming the destination of choice for companies and individuals seeking a healthier environment outside of congested Accra itself.

Construction of the four-storey building is set to commence soon, with completion anticipated in 2022. It will benefit from Appolonia City’s existing world-class infrastructure such as roads, power, water, waste management and ICT.

“This is a jewel of a project for us, with real reach and influence,” comments Paragon Group Director Henning Rasmuss. In relation to the office development sector in Africa, projects such as Appolonia City are important destinations that deliver better, healthier and more efficient working environments to the fast-growing companies and the skilled workforce attracted to African capital cities.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted more focus onto wellness, integrated living and the retention of valuable key staff in new city locations. The timing of the construction of this project could not be better,” highlights Rasmuss.

“We are pleased to partner with Appolonia City on our first office building in Ghana. Like all our real-estate solutions across Africa, it will have quality leases and strong counterparties, starting with Appolonia City itself,” stresses GREA Chief Investment Officer Andre Janari.

“We are delighted to welcome GREA to Appolonia City to develop the first office building. We already have high demand for office and retail space from companies and individuals wishing to enjoy our ‘Live, Work, Play’ environment, with offices, homes, schools and shops all within walking distance,” elaborates Appolonia City CEO Bright Owusu-Amofah.

GREA is affiliated with Grit Real Estate Investment Group (Grit). It was established by Greg Pearson and Bronwyn Corbett, founder members of Grit, after recognising the need for bespoke turnkey developments in select African countries.

Established in 2014, Grit is the largest pan-African real estate income group, listed on several stock exchanges, including the main market of the London Stock Exchange. Grit currently operates across seven countries, with direct investments in five asset classes and 47 assets valued at circa $823 million. In Ghana, Grit has invested $45 million over the last three years in prime commercial office space, including Capital Place, CADS II and 5th Avenue Corporate Offices in Accra.

Sir Samuel Jonah, one of Africa and Ghana’s leading businessmen and a member of the Grit board, adds: “GREA’s investment in Appolonia City’s first office building is a demonstration of GREA and Grit’s vision for superior quality real estate in Africa, and setting a benchmark for international investment in Ghana.”

The construction project will support Accra’s economy, thanks to GREA’s synergies with Ghanaian professionals such as construction specialists, highly-qualified architects and engineers and quantity surveyors and construction workers.

Paragon Architects, part of the Paragon Group, is a dynamic and agile, continentally-active architecture and interior design business with experience in 24 African countries, and with completed and current ongoing projects in Ghana.

Paragon Interface redefines workspace planning for the office of the future

By Paragon Media

Striking a balance between working from home and returning to the workplace is likely to result in the ‘hybrid office’ of the future, according to Paragon Interface Senior Associate Kirsty Schoombie. The ‘hybrid office’ is defined as the ideal compromise between remote working and being office-bound, as was the norm prior to Covid-19. Instead, in this ‘new normal’, employees continue to work from home while being required to be in the office on occasion.

This will allow for interaction with fellow colleagues and bolster corporate culture, especially with larger companies. “Yes, there is an associated cost-saving with having your staff work remotely,” acknowledges Schoombie. However, the phenomenon dubbed as ‘Zoom fatigue’, which refers to the increased cognitive demands posed by constant tele-conferencing, indicates that workers would prefer some level of human interaction as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic.

This will also give interior architecture companies like Paragon Interface the opportunity to ‘reimagine’ the office of the future. “With social distancing, sanitising and mask-wearing likely to be with us for the foreseeable future, it is important for workspace planning to take this into account,” highlights Schoombie. This can easily be done by reducing the number of work stations and placing them further apart, while also increasing the number of couches for social seating, for example.

Wider corridors and doorways and additional partitioning will become more common, while even office furniture is likely to evolve in terms of fabrics and advances such as foldaway desks. Other features include no-touch doors, increased use of stairs to reduce crowding in elevators, and the use of materials such as silver and copper in surface finishes due to their antimicrobial properties.

Management consultant McKinsey highlights four steps to redefine workspaces post Covid-19: Optimising basic processes so that remote work is as uninterrupted and as effective as possible; redefining work roles in terms of ‘fully remote’ and ‘hybrid remote’; redesigning the workspace to foster safe collaboration; and optimising the office footprint accordingly.

Schoombie points out that the latter does not necessarily mean reducing the physical size of an office building per se, but rather using interior design to improve space utilisation and planning. Traditional layouts will have to be reconsidered, with the addition of Perspex screening now a regulatory requirement. This is likely to result in a more modular approach to workspace design. Another area likely to change significantly post Covid-19 is the office canteen or cafeteria.

“With so much time now being spent working from home, it is going to become increasingly important for people to ensure that their ‘home offices’ are comfortable and practical. This is essential for both personal well-being and productivity,” concludes Schoombie.

Paragon Interface creates a new way of work for Deloitte at The Ridge

By Paragon Media

 Following on from its successful completion of Deloitte’s new Africa headquarters at Waterfall City in Midrand, Paragon Interface has just completed a new workplace for the professional services firm at The Ridge at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. This was a high-profile project for the interior architecture company Paragon Interface, part of the Paragon Group, as The Ridge has just been awarded a 6 Star Green Star Office Design rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

“Maintaining the design integrity of the base building architecture while successfully incorporating the distinctively Deloitte brand experience was our aspiration for the interior of this ground-breaking ‘green’ building,” highlights Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante. “The result has been a project that we are immensely proud of. The Ridge has quite a unique aesthetic – it’s industrial but still very elegant and well-detailed in response to the technical requirements of the sustainable design brief.”

The Ridge is the apex of the new Portswood District green development at the V&A Waterfront. It has a gross lettable area of approx. 8 500 m2 and consists of ground, plus three levels of office accommodation and three basement parking levels.

The ground floor accommodates the more public functions such as a Deloitte reception, client-facing meeting rooms, a staff restaurant and a Vida Café that can service both Deloitte employees and the public realm through a service hatch inserted into the covered entrance façade. The ground floor experience is completed by Deloitte’s ‘Xcelerator’, an immersive environment where clients can experience the potential of digital transformations in an innovative environment that enables the creative development of customised digital solutions.

To facilitate and encourage active movement for both employees and visitors, The Ridge has a light-filled internal atrium conceptualised as a street that runs through its centre. The workspace planning focuses on activating this street edge through the deliberate positioning of agile workspaces around the atrium to create a bustling working corridor.

It includes a balance of collaborative workspace such as touch-down points, casual lounge spaces, focus rooms and pods. Social relaxation areas are positioned in the vertical circulation core. Lifts and a sculptural steel staircase allow employees to easily connect with each other between floors. New ways of working such as desk-sharing practices are also being successfully implemented here, aligned with Deloitte’s global workspace practices.

Apart from the application of similar branding elements in the signage, finishes and colour scheme as at Waterfall City, The Ridge has a distinctively different atmosphere. Extensive use of natural materials such as exposed concrete, timber and glass echoes the external façade. The indoor planting completes a holistic wellness experience for users.

However, perhaps the biggest differentiator at The Ridge is the presence of exposed slabs and services, a technical requirement of the innovative chilled slab cooling solution – one of the many unique sustainability features of the building. Special acoustic panels float underneath the slabs to provide appropriate levels of sound absorption for a comfortable office environment and suspended linear low-energy LED lighting between the panels follows a similar design rhythm.

“From the beginning The Ridge was always going to be unique, and the interior really needed to respond to that brief. At the same time, it aligns the threads of Deloitte’s branding philosophy and the workplace strategy implemented at Waterfall City,” says D’Adorante.

The sustainability features at The Ridge that contributed to its green rating from the GBCSA include energy-efficient and passive climate control measures, the use of renewable energy, sustainable water handling, reducing the carbon footprint of the building and a focus on the use of natural lighting, including natural ventilation through openable windows. Energy performance has been integrated fully into the design, which maximises natural light, ventilation and manages water and waste resources efficiently.

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