Public Transport Shared Services Centre

2009

The site for the public transport shared services centre (PTSSC) is located on the corner of two freeways,  Vanguard Drive and the N2.  The adjacent site holds Vangate Mall with a commercial axis perpendicular to the PTSSC site on the Southern border.  Electircal pylons run through the site along a north-south axis on the western edge.  There are views of Table Mountain to the South West. The surrounding neighbourhood is a run-down, previously disadvantaged, “coloured” area.  Revialisation efforts have occured in the immediate vicinity of Vangate Mall.  Overall, it is considered one of the poorer communities, however this area escapes abject poverty, a fact that is evident in the observable size and quality of the surrounding houses.

The brief included an extensive set of user requirements relating to norms and standards.  Provincial Government, has a history/precedent of individual office cubicles and cellular units, long passageways and wide/square buildings, a precedent that is addressed through the PTSSC design response.

The Vanguard Shared Services Centre building is divided into two parallel wings of flexible office space, with an atrium linking them. The atrium is conceived as the heart of the building and provides tantalizing glimpses into the office spaces, as well as being the main public interface. An efficient floor plate width takes advantage of passive solar gains in winter and maximizes natural light penetration. A sophisticated north façade design with light shelves, screens and solar chimneys assist the hybrid passive ventilation and energy efficient HVAC system, which is 60% more efficient than the norm.

The design for the building includes features such as a vertical garden latticework and a roof garden which contribute to city greening.  The aesthetic of the building has an humane and fine grained character, breaking away from the precedent of building bland, soulless buildings in order to adhere to tight budgets – a practice that is observable in some of the existing buildings in the poorer communities of South Africa.  This building has subtle variances across it’s facades that create tension and interest, exciting delight in the experience of the user.

The PTSSC was conceptualised and constructed in association with Jakupa Architects & Urban Designers.