ENSafrica fit-out: people-centred spaces
35 Lower Long, developed by Abland, is an iconic new building situated on Cape Town’s foreshore. The new office building, certified as a 4-star Green Star Office 1.1 Design, is for tenant ENSafrica, Africa’s largest law firm.7
ENSafrica’s new office was designed to equip its tenants with the knowledge, skills and attitude to fulfil the sustainable business ideals that every organisation should embrace, which includes providing them with a ‘green’ workplace to enhance their wellbeing. The tenant is ENSafrica, Africa’s largest law firm.
Designed by Thinkspace in close collaboration with ENSafrica and various expert consultants, the office interiors boast various spaces in which to work privately, collaboratively, and to interact socially. Building occupants can easily access surrounding amenities with reduced reliance on private occupancy vehicles. The site is within walking distance to various amenities including accommodation, retail outlets and schools, and is close to the MyCitiBus stops and the Cape Town Station, connecting to various Metrorail Stops.
The interior fit-out area comprises seven integrated office levels and one mezzanine level, a total usable area of 5941m². It has a dedicated client front office reception, meeting room zone and restaurant. The project fit-out is designed and constructed to achieve a 5-Star Green Star Interiors v1 Certification.
The fit-out comprises quiet, sound-proofed private spaces, which have special features to facilitate virtual meetings and which provide individual, customised settings, including air flow, temperature and lighting adjustment. Annelidé Sherratt of Solid Green says that the project was awarded an additional innovation point for this feature:
Enclosed spaces provide appropriate speech privacy levels for their intended function, in accordance with the ‘Performance’ method, with sound insulation between acoustically sensitive rooms and other occupied spaces.
Accessible communal areas on each office level enable natural collaborative flow and provide spaces for in-office and remote connection. These prime areas across the office are shared by all occupants and have access to natural light and impressive views over the city. They also have accessible feature hand-basins, custom planters containing indigenous plants, organic-shaped lights and walk-ways which show-case environmental land-art. Various communal areas can be used formally and informally, encouraging movement, allowing people to choose where they work and promoting spontaneous connection.
The building is targeting an energy consumption of 160.9kWh/m²/year, far less than the SANS10400 XA requirement of 200kWh/m²/year. Energy sub-meters are provided for all substantive energy uses to accurately monitor consumption, with live trending. Energy efficient lighting is used throughout the building and spaces can be individually switched. Occupancy sensors are installed to assist with this. The vast majority of appliances and tenant equipment are energy efficient, rated under the Energy Star® system or the European Energy Labelling scheme.
All selected gaseous and fire suppression systems and thermal insulants used for the development have an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero, to eliminate any contributions to long-term damage to the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. Paint, adhesive’s sealants, and carpets have low VOC emissions.
The furniture, assemblies and floor coverings specified have third party eco-labels and certificates, demonstrating reduced environmental impact. For ENS, the development was a great way to put their principles into practice. Mzi Mgudlwa, Chief Executive of ENSafrica commented:
It is not enough to say you believe in upholding Environment, Society and Governance principles. You have to change how you do business to ensure ESG becomes a way of life – more than mere ideals to strive for, but reality. This is something that we believe can only happen at the day-to-day level, little by little, and it spans all aspects of our business (including our office interiors). It is the only way to sustain our business, and to show how much we care for our clients, our people, and our planet.
Accredited professional: Solid Green Consulting
Electrical engineer: Converge Consulting
Fire engineer: Sutherland Engineers
Mechanical engineer: Ekcon Engineers & Project Managers
Quantity surveyors: Du Toit Pienaar Quantity Surveyors
Sustainable design review: Solid Green Consulting
Sustainable building consultant: Solid Green Consulting
Wet services: Sutherland Engineers
Main contractor: Stabilid Cape
Project manager: Abland
Environmental consultant: Vivienne Stern & Associates
Interior designer: Thinkspace