Ikusasa, 7 Parks Boulevard: Setting the tone for a sustainable future

Ikusasa, 7 Parks Boulevard: Setting the tone for a sustainable future

The most recently completed building in the mixed-use Oxford Parks precinct is 7 Parks Boulevard, located at the corner of Eastwood Road in Dunkeld. The Ikusasa Building (the Zulu word for ‘future’), developed by Intaprop, received a 6-star Green Star Office v1.1. Design certification in July and is targeting the As Built and Interiors certifications as well as a Net Zero Level 1 certification.

The project is the proud new home for Anglo American’s Global Services division and comprises four basement floors as well as four office floors with a gross floor area (GFA) of 8113m², excluding parking areas. The site borders on the multi-use CBD node of Rosebank with convenient access to major roads, the Gautrain and other public transport options.

The building reflects the client’s holistic approach to the precinct with an architectural design incorporating innovative energy-saving efficiency and a fresh approach to integrating public spaces. GLH & Associates Architects’ brief was to realise the vision of Oxford Parks by extending the character of Rosebank and incorporating the design into a vibrant and leafy urban node with a strong focus on seamless pedestrian movement and non-motorised transport. All parking is therefore located underground to accommodate pedestrians and to encourage walking, cycling and other leisure activities in the area.

Louise O’Raw, director at GLH Architects, explains that the layout of the building provides for maximum flexibility. At the entrance, users are welcomed into a double volume atrium. Public interface spaces such as meeting rooms, a coffee shop and a restaurant dominate the ground floor. Simple, rectangular open floor plates allow for maximum flexibility and sub-divisibility around the central lobbies on the three office levels. The structural layout, a large-span square column grid, ensures the futureproofing of the building for single or multiple tenancies beyond the current fitout.

The team had to deliver the final product within a challengingly short 12-month construction period. This resulted in the decision to use a system of unitised panels, to be erected as completed modules without the need for perimeter scaffolding. A benefit in terms of sustainability is that it allows for easy future disassembly.

Diversity and contrast in the facades were achieved by adding different materials to the panels. A stone-look tile added to the solid walls creates texture and character and stands in contrast with the smooth and sleek aluminium cladding and glazing. A pattern of vertical fins protects the glass from low angle east/west sun and provides subtle colour to the north and south. O’Raw comments, “The rhythm created by the stepped stone panels on the building’s relatively long east and west facades really defines the design and ties into the placement of the roof solar panels at an optimal 10-degree sun catchment angle.

What stood out for me on the Ikusasa project was the spirit of demonstrating sustainability by intentionally expressing elements such as the solar panels in the essence of the architecture, rather than concealing them.

The 421 PV panels are expected to yield 385,500 kWh annually. The north and south facades are more transparent, with energy efficient double glazing protected against harsh sunlight by balconies and over-cladding ‘wings’ at the corners. Automated sun-controlled blinds further cut out glare.

Three main Green Star 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 Survey on existing buildings. To reduce waste to landfill during building operations, a waste recycling storage area has been provided in the basement. A Watercourse Pollution credit was targeted to deal with stormwater runoff. The system was designed so that minimal pollutants and trash are diverted to municipal stormwater channels while trying to capture the stormwater and reuse it within the building or precinct.

Environmental strategies were implemented to enhance the wellbeing of the building’s users such as ample fresh air, access to external views, and plenty of natural daylight. In terms of reducing energy consumption, all individual or enclosed spaces are individually switched with occupancy sensors. An energy model of the building was generated during the design stage, comparing the building to a SANS 10400 notional building model, and Building Glazing Performance modelling was also carried out. Sub-metering of major energy and water consuming systems is in place.

As the first building in Oxford Parks to target and obtain a 6-Star Green Star rating, 7 Parks Boulevard is also registered for several certifications during various stages of the project and a Green Lease agreement is in place for the current tenancy. “The success of such a demanding project and its completion in record time depended heavily on the hands-on involvement of all the professionals from day one,” O’Raw comments.

This would not have been possible without an integrated fitout process and close collaboration between the design team, developer, tenant and construction teams.

Solid Green’s Nomamfengu Mbele, the sustainable building consultant on the project, says that it was fascinating to see the inspiring work that results when you have the combination of a strong professional team, diligent developer and ambitious client. She says:

This building effortlessly targeted multiple credits that affected construction, design, tenant well-being and on-going sustainable operations. It is very likely more celebrations will follow for this building as they pursue their As Built, Interiors and Net Zero Carbon certifications.

Project Team

OWNER: Intaprop/ Oxford Parks Pty LTD
ARCHITECT: GLH & Associates – Base Building
LIFT SPECIALIST: Schindler Lifts (SA) (Pty) Ltd
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Adaptive Resource Engineers
PROJECT MANAGER: Morta Project Management
BMS SYSTEMS PROFESSIONAL: Adaptive Resource Engineers

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