There’s no shortage of majestic – even opulent – office buildings in Sandton, Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s economic hubs. But in the midst of the hustle and bustle, there’s one building that would leave any onlooker awestruck: 102 Rivonia.
Set against the Sandton skyline – a stone’s throw from the Gautrain, a rapid transit rail system, and shopper’s paradise, Sandton City – the building sets a new standard in great design and construction that is both aesthetically appealing and functional.
From the impressive double-glazed glass facades of the two towers which feature an intricate pattern of vertical fins – to control the natural light entering the building – to the clever use of concrete that fulfilled several purposes, including meeting the requirements for a Green Star rating, the development pushes the boundaries in every respect.
Seated on a two-storey podium, the prestigious office development had to meet very specific criteria. Earmarked as the new headquarters for professional services multinational, Ernst & Young (E&Y) – with the second tower leased to multiple tenants – the design, quality and services needed to symbolise Ernst & Young in Africa in form and through the use of local materials and finishes. To accommodate the client’s request that the building allow for future flexibility and adaptability, a five-storey high link bridge connects the two towers.
The client aimed to achieve a Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), which partly informed our decision to use concrete. Concrete buildings offer flexibility in design, as well as superior acoustic insulation, fire resistance, vibration control and robustness while the use of its thermal mass to store and release solar energy enables more efficient heating and cooling operations.
Two main challenges presented themselves: the need to deliver an exclusive, high-quality Green Star rated building within an extremely tight construction deadline, and the confined nature of the site, which meant limited construction space.
The project team completed the project to deadline thanks to the innovative use of a post-tensioning system. By incorporating high-strength concrete and the post-tensioning system – which provides a means of strengthening concrete by exploiting the strength of the concrete in compression and overcoming its weakness in resisting tension – the construction process was significantly expedited. The use of concrete also included additional benefits, including:
Well-planned construction logistics and the implementation of a unique construction method effectively dealt with the space issue during the construction phase.
The innovative construction methods employed along with the use of concrete allowed the project team to successfully deliver on one of the client’s main objectives: in 2014 the building achieved a 4-Star Green Star SA Office Design V1.
Prior to its construction, it was shortlisted in the 2012 World Architecture Festival’s Future Office Category for its design.
The completed development boasts a modern, spacious space with the finest finishes. Completed within a tight deadline, the flagship head office remains an outstanding symbol of Ernst & Young’s growing presence in Africa.