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144 Oxford: Prestigious and iconic development in Rosebank, South Africa

144 Oxford is a premium-grade office development in Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa aimed at capitalising on the demand for office space in the popular precinct. Conceived by Growthpoint Properties in 2015, the US $71.4m project features two extended office towers connected by a central atrium. It consists of nine occupiable floors and six basement levels for parking.

Design and concept

Growthpoint appointed Paragon Architects South Africa to design the iconic development. A primary feature of this striking building is the imposing central atrium which interconnects the two office towers. A 25 m steel girder spans the top of the atrium, creating a massive open area free of columns. The girder also supports the glass façade by means of steel beams spanning the same length of the girder, onto which the glass is clipped. As space is a crucial element of the overall aesthetic of the building unwanted columns would detract completely from the design criteria of the atrium.

Every part of the building has performance glass of different types, based on the planning of the building. On the northern side, for example, there are three types of double-glazed glass systems: 50T, which is a more clear lower performance glass which doesn’t reflect much sunlight; then a Cool-lite ST120 glass – a higher performing glass which is very reflective allowing very little heat through; followed by a Solar E plus grey, darker black-grey glass – slightly less performing which, being dark in colour, attracts more heat.

The roof is a functional combination comprising a flat concrete roof housing mechanical plant – with air circulation going through a second “soft” roof above the main roof. In addition, two full backup generators have been installed to keep the entire building fully operational during power outages.

The six basement areas accommodate over 1 500 sizeable parking bays and encourage green star points through features such as bicycle storage racks, motor-cycle bays, showers and change rooms.

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Logistics played a key role as no lay down area was available on the site. This meant that all façades were pre-fabricated off-site and were then installed immediately on delivery, which was tightly planned and coordinated and thus required no storage on site.

The scope of Paragon’s design includes all common interior floor space of the building, including the atrium, bathrooms and common passageways. Each tenant is free to design their own interior space while following a Tenant Criteria Document provided by the property owner. As tiles play an important role in the interior design, only the best Italian tiles, being world leaders in this field, were selected for this purpose.

Project positioning

144 Oxford is well positioned with Gautrain nearby and directly opposite the Rosebank Shopping Mall and The Zone, enabling refreshing walking in an urban environment and enjoyment of its retail space. Dedicated traffic lights opposite the entrance to 144 Oxford encourage pedestrian access.

Green Star Design

Initially the building was designed for a 4-Star Green Star design. However as construction progressed it soon became clear that a 5-Star Green Star Design Certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) was quite feasible as the design was nine points ahead of the GBCSA requirement for a 5-Star rating. 144 Oxford currently awaits confirmation of this rating application from GBCSA. A four star design rating was achieved.

Façades, blinds, electrical systems, lights with motion detectors, recirculation of radiant heat and harvesting of rain water are all primary contributors to the 5-Star Green Star rating – as is the planting of indigenous plants in the deceptively large garden area, creating a very important aspect of the exciting vibe of the building as a whole.

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