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Investec Regional Head Office
uMhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal

People:

ELPHICK PROOME ARCHITECTS Inc: Architect

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Date:2010?
Type:Offices
Status:Extant

Award for Architecture Citation

With the prescribed positioning and height of the building, the architects had to mediate user comfort between ocean views and inhospitable orientation.

In acknowledgement of the sloping topography the parking levels are terraced and landscaped. The building at the foot of the terraces is entered on its northern corner via a high-volume concourse with cascading escalators which give access to the open office floors and allow much of the favourable orientation into the depth of the building. To enjoy the setting, the top floor is conceived as a penthouse with meeting and social spaces opening to the perimeter terrace.

The jury was impressed by the sophistication of the design and the innovations in energy efficiency.

Award for Excellence Citation

The Investec building is an open-plan building with visibility throughout, that expresses a blurring of demarcating lines between private and public space using the transparent partitioning and facades that interface these areas. The entrance is beautifully articulated between two planes, floor and roof, and creates liminal space that allows for a sublime transition from the outside into the building. The tapering of these two planes further invites movement into the central atrium, evoking a cathedral environment.

The generously proportioned floor to roof public circulation atrium reinforces a feeling of light and transparency receptive to the business ethics applied at Investec; a spatial demonstration of the philosophy and processes of Investec at work. This inward looking atrium, with its transparent rectangular meeting spaces that cantilever into it, doubles up as a circulatory foyer space, which celebrates the aspirations and inspired success of the people who visit and those who work within the building. This quality of place is carried through in the corporate finishes and materials used internally and externally. This grand gesture undoubtedly qualifies this atrium as the heart and soul of the building.

The temperate ambience and climatic natural conditioning of the basement levels use natural ventilation and day lighting to let the basements, often dark and unsettling spaces, to acquire the same sense of transparency and light quality prevalent throughout the building above. The Investec building makes what would be a stoic highbrow environment, humane and spiritually uplifting.

Photographs

The photographs on this page were taken by Angela Buckland and Karl Beath.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.

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