4 Sandown Valley Crescent
The site, previously known as Babcock House, presented good development potential due to its high visibility and location off West Street in Sandton Central. The building won the Best International Project Award in 2009 from the Brazilian Institute of Architects – an award that recognizes excellence in projects built outside Brazil with the senior involvement of Brazilian architects.
The 11 000 square metres of lettable area that sit atop the maximised parking podium give the new building a commanding presence, which is reinforced by the distinctive V-shaped columns on the West Street ground floor edge.
The planning of the building is based on a simple H-shaped configuration. Two wings of deep floor plates maximise north and south facades and views around a central atrium space with clerestorey lighting. Linking bridges between the floor plates allow for maximum sub-letting flexibility and ease of orientation for day-to-day circulation.
The north and south facades are distinctive for their blue patterned all-glass curtain wall structure, held within a thin projecting concrete edge. The glass surfaces are designed to capture the dramatic Joburg sky, with different shades of blue glass heightening the interplay between sky and wall. Upright stainless steel blades of different lengths are set into the facade, giving architectural and geometric structure.
The east and west facades are clad in off-shutter concrete blocks, designed in a slight relief pattern for added visual texture. These walls are kept as solid as possible to reduce heat gain, and appear to ‘wrap’ over the curtain walls attached to the north and south facades. A deep recess separates wall edge and glass surface, creating a distinct setting for the carefully proportioned glass surfaces.