LYT Architecture - South Africa
Drawings, plans, elevations
The new headquarters for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, located in the heart of Pretoria, was one of the 1st Government buildings to target a 5-Star Green Star SA certification within a public-private partnership (PPP). The building-which occupies the site of the old Munitoria building–was designed to provide a comfortable, healthy and productive working environment for its occupants, with an overall environmental strategy encompassing transport, indoor environmental quality, energy, water, and waste. Design In March 1997, a wing of the old Munitoria building was destroyed by fire, and this block was never rebuilt. The intention with the new building was to consolidate office space for the City’s staff into a building that would provide adequate space for the City’s administrative processes and enhance the City’s service delivery capacity, in an environmentally conscious and socially cohesive structure. Because of the large site, a low building was designed that speaks to the pedestrian scale of the city, with a colonnade providing protection and promoting civic interaction with the building. The elevated ground floor, situated above two basement levels, engages the street on the southern side via a broad staircase and publicly-accessible piazza. The intention is to encourage the perception of transparency between the City and the public – a perception that is reinforced by the use of a full height curtain wall that gives the public views through to the building’s activities. A park has been incorporated on the eastern side of the site, which can be opened for public functions. This area provides space for a possible future extension to Tshwane House, which will be linked back to the first phase by an interstitial corridor. The fundamental components of the building are a new Council Chamber, efficient office space, and an environment that provides a pleasant and healthy workplace for staff members. Arrival is via a secure atrium, where the spatial effect is optimised through an economical and efficient use of volume. From the foyer, a separate lift for the public leads to the gallery that overlooks the Chamber – in this way there is no physical cross over between public and office functions, but a visual connection is maintained. From the central foyer space, there are two bridge links to the east and west wings. This was a design response to the requirement for the building to be subdivided so that, in the event of another fire, damage could be contained and the overall functioning of the building would not be compromised. The east and west wings are similar in plan, based on a figure 8, with two smaller atria providing a maximum use of floor plate area with a minimum use of facades – that is, an efficient floor area to envelope ratio in terms of circulation, structure and light penetration. The centrally located chamber is a separate structure altogether, with its own iconographic, formal architecture that makes it recognisable as an iconic object and the place where city decisions are made. The building offered a 5-Star Green Star SA certification.