Exxaro’s new R600m head office in Pretoria is complete and, over a three-month period, will relocate all its operations to the new building, which can accommodate up to 1,000 staff members. Developed by Growthpoint Properties, Exxaro commenced its long lease over all the new building’s 18,500m2 of gross lettable area on 1 May 2019, after six weeks of early occupation.
The new corporate headquarters consolidates its current offices in Pretoria and Joburg into a single workspace. The building comprises five storeys of offices atop four levels of structured basement parking.
Paul Kollenberg, Growthpoint’s head of asset management: offices, points out, “We are happy to include the new Exxaro head office in our portfolio. The building is in tune with top commercial buildings in the world’s most prominent urban centres. It reflects the quality, efficient, high-performance workplaces that are becoming the core of the Growthpoint’s office portfolio.”
The two-year development of Exxaro’s headquarters broke ground in February 2017 to become the second phase of Growthpoint’s redevelopment of the prime Lakeside site on West Street, Centurion.
A major challenge in the building’s construction is the site’s dolomitic bedrock. Over 100 boreholes were drilled to create a three-dimensional model of the bedrock. High-lying dolomite pinnacles were blasted and drilled down, upper layers of soil were compacted and a steel-reinforced concrete ‘raft’ foundation, complete with sensor monitoring, was laid.
Rudolf Pienaar, Growthpoint’s chief development and investment officer, says, “With excellent site information and expertise, Growthpoint’s development team overcame a massive challenge, to take advantage of a prime commercial site for Exxaro that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.”
As a prominent feature of the development, organic dolomite was chosen to inspire several building design elements. Its forms are subtly expressed in acoustic wall panels, bollards and other thoughtful features. The building’s innovative safe foundations are brought to life with a special glass covered manhole, which provides a view underground to a dolomitic pinnacle beneath the site’s parking area periphery.
“This is just one of many ways that this singular building tells its story, creates touchpoints, and encourages users to engage with it,” says Growthpoint development manager, Michiel Gerber.
In line with both Exxaro’s and Growthpoint’s high environmental standards, the development team’s efforts surpassed its targets to achieve a five-star Green Star SA Design certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa. This will be confirmed with a As-Built rating application, once the building is fully functioning.
Green measures include a performance glazed façade, zoned lighting, energy-efficient building services and systems, water-efficient fixtures, rainwater harvesting, water-wise landscaping, low VOC interior finishes, abundant fresh air and natural light, as well as a hydro panel that generates water from air. It has dedicated parking for more fuel-efficient vehicles, such as hybrids, electric cars and scooters, as well as secure bicycle racks.
The curvaceous building is skirted with generous terraces and connects to the outdoors with pleasant external views, balconies and a roof terrace.
Arrival at the building is through a welcoming triple-volume entrance and reception, which open onto an airy atrium that soars upwards at the core of five floors of efficient, light-filled workspace. It includes a level dedicated to meeting, interacting, engaging and collaborating, and features a restaurant and canteen with a kitchen, an auditorium, and a coffee shop.
Widely used in places like Western Europe, the waterless urinal for females is relatively new to South African offices and is being piloted by Growthpoint in Exxaro’s new headquarters. Also, an innovative idea for an on-site nutrient recovery urinal by the winner of the Greenovate Engineering Award in 2017, Craig Peter Flanagan who represented UCT, has been implemented by Growthpoint at the building.