The refurbishment of Pretoria's old Agrivaal building, a block away from the Union Buildings, is the first building undertaken by the National Department of Public Works to achieve a green star rating and will become one of only three green buildings in the city.
An artist's impression of what the Agrivaal building is expected to look like upon completion at the end of next year.
The department did not disclose how much the refurbishment of the existing building and construction of a new section is expected to cost, nor which government department would eventually occupy it.
Marco Macagnano, who was involved in the design of the building and speaking on behalf of the directors of PKA International Architects and Francois van der Merwe Architects in Association, said a decision was taken to respect the form and aesthetics of the existing building with the design of the new section. This was done by designing the first three storeys in similar proportion to form a podium on top of which the remaining 10 storeys of glass, brick and concrete will curve their way into the city skyline.
Macagnano said that the architects designed the building to be unique to the city and it will be visible on the Tshwane skyline.
"Since it eclectically embraces the style and culture of the old and the new, it is representative of the spirit of government which it serves and the best way to describe the style is South African contemporary.
"While distinctly South African in style, it most certainly announces the country's readiness to compete globally in the high-level delivery of world-class government buildings," he said.
The Agrivaal building at the corner of Hamilton and Edmond streets is approximately 60 years old and has great historical significance due to the older corner building, which was mandated by the South African Heritage Resources Association to be preserved and refurbished.
"Much work was done to ensure that the structure of the old building and the new building tied in perfectly to make the transition as seamless as possible," Macagnano said.
PKA International Architects and Francois van der Merwe Architects in association designed the building in order to ensure that it would be awarded four stars by the Green Building Council of South Africa, which is globally recognised for its independent accreditation in recognising excellence in sustainable and green building design.
"Once completed, the building will reach a new standard of energy efficiency, using far less electricity than a standard office building of similar size, while promoting optimised user environmental quality and occupancy comfort," he said.
Most of the material used in the construction that started in April last year, is recycled, locally sourced and environmentally friendly.
The building is expected to be completed at the end of next year.
"The interior finishes of the existing building are all restored and re-fitted, ensuring nothing goes to waste, while exterior windows and interior services are being upgraded to elevate building performance to the highest level in modern office design," Macagnano said.
The building will have a state-ofthe-art management system which monitors lighting and air-conditioning levels in all areas of the building, ensuring these are on only in areas where people are present.
Further, water will be harvested on the roofs for re-use in irrigation of new roof gardens which will ensure the building re-introduces more green area to a site than it had previously, even though the footprint of the building occupies most of the site.
Macagnano said water will also be recycled inside the building for re-use in the flushing of cisterns and urinals.
Another innovation of this building is the characteristic of its adaptability to changing tenant requirements.
"Should the tenants grow, shrink or change, the interior space planning can be completely reconfigured without damage or disruption to the building or its services," he said.
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