Pulsating within the heart of Sandton's business district is the new South African Head Office for Ernst & Young. Nestled between two main arterial roads and located directly opposite the newly established high speed train station the building is a trajectory of this movement and energy, seamlessly embracing the dynamic context within which it transpires.
The building responds analytically and fluidly to the organic interior and exterior space planning- blurring the interface between the active and passive, public and private as well as building and landscape. Its form is comprised of three elements; an eight storey building with and active atrium space -animated by transecting stair and bridge links-, together with a 14 storey office tower connected by a 4 storey high bridge which allows for future versatility. The visibility and legibility of the building, afforded by the site, is further enhanced by the two storey podium upon which it sits the podium form part of a greater 8 storey parking basement.
Vehicular and pedestrian access onto the site is controlled within the boundaries of this podium, with separate vehicular entrances for the office buildings and their services. A grand sweeping staircase off Rivonia Road creates a seamless transition for pedestrians from street level to the podium which celebrates its views over Sandton with a hard and soft landscaped extension of the open public street- that can be secured after hours.
The variable nature of the internal functions of the building manifest themselves as floating floor planes that create overhangs and protrusions and further enhances the organic relationship between the façade and the horizontal flow of the spaces. In order to create such vertical fluidity, a unitised green glass facade was adopted, and articulated by vertical fins which control natural light into the open office environment- the centers of which are defined by their orientation on the facades. The exterior of the Basement area will also be finished with a similar aluminum screen providing natural light and ventilation to the upper two floors.
In order to achieve a 4 star Green rating, the building has been designed with innovative opportunities for harness natural light and ventilation, energy conservation as well as imbuing appropriate responses to the intricate network of green design considerations.
The new head office for Ernst & Young is a uniquely sculpted building that emanates timeless professionalism and creativity, unlocks the potential for an adaptable working environment, resonates with the heart and soul of the work environment- and its immediate context- and creates a rhythm that establishes itself within a uniquely African environment.