A3 Architects design new mixed-use development in 'Africa's richest square mile'
Green Park is a 170 000 sqm development in Morningside, located within walking distance from Sandton Central and the new Gautrain Station.
The twenty floor office tower which constitutes phase one of the project will be completed during the course of 2010, while phases 2 and 3 are planned to be completed in 2013 and 2015 respectively. The final project will become a new, very dense, compact and high rise neighbourhood just north of Sandton. It will include a diverse mixture of functions, including a Virgin Active gym, pavement retail centre, public square, 250 apartments, 5-star hotel, office tower and conference centre. The development consists of three high-rise tower blocks orientated in a manner which maximises sunlight and views for the residents. Each of these blocks sit on a podium of retail spaces and parking basements.
The design has been carefully developed to prioritise both the spectacular aspects of high rise architecture and the urban spaces formed at pedestrian level. The interface zones, such as quiet, private apartment balconies directly above vibrant, busy public retail arcades proved to be rather difficult to solve. Placing a whole range of functions next to or even on top of each other, such as a rooftop pool on a hotel, which in turn rests on a spa, restaurant, gym and finally a parking basement becomes a bewildering puzzle, especially when one considers the diverse structural and servicing requirements of each component. This has resulted in a very large and complex project with many functional demands and priorities. The final resolution was only achieved after a protracted design process lasting more than two years.
Having just completed two of the neighbouring buildings the clients were excited at the opportunity to integrate this site with the surrounding area using well managed, secure public spaces and pavements to build a working neighbourhood.
The name Green Park was chosen for the project in order to highlight the dramatic new architectural paradigm shift away from traditional building styles to environmentally responsive, performance-driven design.
The intimidating scale of large, high rise buildings have been mediated by carefully articulating the volumes and stepping them back from the retail courtyard spaces, behind garden decks. Unlike classical buildings which generate symmetrical, static forms, these buildings respond to the dynamic, complex forces of nature to become unbalanced, exciting sculptural forms which the architects hope will contribute positively to the growing skyline of Sandton in the future.