Peech Hotel

The Peech Hotel is a garden boutique hotel located in Melrose, Johannesburg. Meshworks was tasked with extending the hotel onto the newly acquired neighbouring property, designing an addition that respected the existing hotel and built upon its best features.

Specifically, we were asked to:

Increase the hotel’s accommodation by sixteen rooms of approx 45m2 each;
Apportion a reasonable garden space to the existing residence on the south half of the new property;
Retain the feel of private pavilions floating in a garden;
Consider the provision of circulation and an enlarged pool area.
Respond to but not necessarily match the existing aesthetic; and

Were there any particular innovations you were looking to achieve from the steel cladding?

Firstly, the planted steel mesh of the wrap-around balconies was an important element in the kit of parts we used to craft the articulated facades of an urban village. Together with the expressed steel framework of the buildings, it creates a play of layers, materials, light and shadows. The mesh provides a contrast with the impermeability of the masonry surfaces as well as comprising a changing organic screening device. This ‘wrapping’ allows for an adaptability, depending on the particular siting conditions and orientation of the units. The expressive repetition of vertical steel members creates a rhythm across the site, supporting a cohesive visual language.

Beyond this expressive role, the steel cladding was essential in establishing privacy gradients, in ensuring that there was a considered relationship between the units, and in developing a language of visual connection and shielding. The steelwork allows guests to experience and control various degrees of visual permeability into and out of the units and their zones. This layering means that balconies can become private outdoor courtyards, that guests can sleep with their sliding doors open, that different thresholds reveal different spaces which open up with movement through the unit. Steel is used at all these points to express a layered architecture of lightness.

Lastly, because of its planted nature, but also because of the way it could direct and orientate each unit, the cladding became a tool in the integration of built form with landscape, expressing the passage of light and shadow, and significantly contributing to the ‘garden urbanity’ embodied in the project.

Any specific other details you would like to mention that you feel would help the submission?

The articulation achieved through the various steel elements in the design palette created visual and spatial diversity, restructuring the traditional uniform scripting of a hotel typology. Hotels are complex sites in which the public and the private must be constantly negotiated and the steel screening solutions allow for a filtered experience that is still spatially interesting and dynamic. The steelwork is not only rational and functional, but becomes poetic too.

Completion date of cladding June 2018
Cladding profile/ type used Safintra Saflok 700
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 550m²
Nominator Safintra
Client/ Developer The Peech Boutique Hotel
Architect Meshworks
Structural Engineer EVH Consulting
Quantity Surveyor Viking Construction
Steelwork Contractor Jaru Design
Cladding Contractor Monro Sheeting


The Marc, an acronym for Maude and Rivonia Corner, has transformed the prestigious intersection in Sandton formerly occupied by the Village Walk shopping centre. Bob van Bebber from Boogertman & Partners took the opportunity to make a statement on the Sandton skyline with the use of colour. The highly impactful black and gold façade of Tower 2 (the Jewel) articulates the intersection like a glittering jewel.

Generous pavements, public benches and sculptures create an accessible urban space with no barriers, while ensuring safety and functionality. The walkability of the precinct encourages the use of public transport and mitigates congestion in the commercial hub of Sandton.

Grand stairs punctuated by urban artwork, in the space between the two majestic Towers, where the Jewel unfolds between the crystal façade of Tower 2 lobby and the Atrium with glazed canopy, lead pedestrians from road level to the retail section covered by the skylight.

Arup Façade ‘zengineers’ were involved in June 2015 in the development of the Village Walk site. The façade team worked closely with the developer Eris, the Architects Boogertman and Partners, structural engineers Aurecon, Mechanical Engineers Spoormaker and Partners and Quantity Surveyors AECOM, to assist with the façade design for the two towers and retail skylight for this prestigious mixed-use development.

Tower 1

Tower 1 is an 18 storeys mixed-use building. The envelope consists of a flush glazed curtain wall. Located at the lower ground floor, Tower 1 entrance lobby is a triple volume glazing enclosure set back from the curtain wall above. The double glazing aluminium framed panels are supported onto steel fins moment fixed at the underside of the second floor slab and connected by bracing SHS steel members. The glass panels are curved at the north-east and north-west corners.

Both Tower 1 façade lobby supporting structures and the retail Skylight were initially conceived as timber structures. Steel was the material chosen in the end for the natural strength and aesthetic honesty. The steel assembly also contrast beautifully with the internal timber slat fit out.

 Tower 2

Tower 2 is a rectangular office building which features lower retail floors, and the Jewel, a magnificent skin of gold and black triangular facets interlocked to achieve an elegantly smooth curved shape. The jewel intersects the Tower’s north-east corner and the multistorey glazed Atrium bridges across the rectangular and the curved portion.

The Jewel façade’s surface is formed by a mesh of 5620 alternating gold and black flat triangular elements, flush glazed onto aluminum framing. The Jewel’s surface, generated by symmetric double spirals in plan, was coded in a parametric environment, allowing the geometry of the spiral curve to be adjusted to change the overall shape of the façade ensuring to maintain geometric relationships that provide the smooth curvature while maintaining the geometric rigour that facilitates fabrication.


The retail space occupies the lower floors of Tower 1 and 2 and the space between, covered by a glazed skylight.

The Jewel’s steel backbone The structural scheme for the Jewel’s façade was realised at a team brain storming session at one of our daily visits to our favourite coffee shop. The unitised façade is composed of interlocking triangular and diamond-shaped units. In contrast to a typical unitised façade with one panel per floor height, the jewel façade is made up of four interlocking units per floor.

The gold triangular panels are moment fixed at each floor level with steel brackets fixed to top and bottom of slabs.

Diamond shaped units are locked into the golden triangles 5000m^2 of glazing are supported by 58.2 T of steel brackets.

The installation of the whole building had to be completed in only about seven months, which meant that the façade contractor Geustyn & Horak had to complete two floors every month, fitting about 240 triangles in a week.

Geré Sadie, who managed the onsite installation for Geustyn & Horak, said that the team had to reinvent their installation process. “It was a learn-as-you-go process”.

They had to start off by building full scaffolding around the building in order to be able to set out the brackets at both the bottom and top of each slab, each one at a unique point.

Tower 2 lobby

Tower 2 Lobby façade is supported by 13m long 160x80x5 vertical RHS at 2.4m centres, and 80x80x4 horizontal SHS at 1.85 centres (45 kg/m^2). The glazed canopy is made up out of custom tapering cantilevering T-sections.

Tower 2 Atrium and glazed canopy

The 40m high glazed atrium façade that interfaces between the Jewel and the rectangular portion of Tower 2, is supported by a beautiful skeleton of horizontal steel trusses of variable length at 4.05m spacing (TRUSSES: chords 140×5 CHS, truss bracing 102×4 CHS, outer hanger 60mm solid round-selected for its axial stiffness, inner hanger 89×4 CHS).

The series of trusses fixed at the ends to the Tower’s slabs, is suspended from the roof structure above and has been designed to allow for the natural structural deflections.

The external glazed canopy is supported by welded T cantilever beams of variable depths and 60×3 CHS hangers.

The atrium and canopy steelwork weighs 43.94 T.

Tower 1 Lobby

The triple volume glazed envelope at the entrance of Tower 1 is supported by 16m long 400x25mm steel flats at 3.2m centres. The hangers cantilever from the underside of the 2nd floor slab and are braced by 60x60x4SHS sections at 2m centres. The weight of the steelwork per square metre of façade is 27.5 kg/m^2.

Retail Skylight

The retail Skylight structure consists of variable length (max 15m long) triangular welded rafters of different sizes (min 130hx60w, max 360hx165w) with 160x80x4 RHS bracing supporting double glazing skylight.

Completion date of steelwork ·         Tower 1 lobby-April 2018 

·         Tower 2 lobby-April 2018

·         Tower 2 Atrium+ canopy-July 2018

·         Retail Skylight-April 2018

Completion date of full project September 2018
Tons of structural steel used ·         Tower 1 & Tower2 lobbies-40.63 T 

·         Tower 2 Atrium + canopy-43.94 T

·         Retail Skylight-25.6 T

·         Tower 2-The “Jewel”  glazing brackets-

Structural profiles used ·         Tower 2 Lobby-13m long 160x80x5 vertical RHS at 2.4m, 80x80x4 horizontal SHS at 1.85 centres (45 kg/m^2) 

·         Tower 1 Lobby : 16m long 400×25 steel hangers at 3.2m centres and horizontal 60x60x4SHS bracing at 2m centres (27.5 kg/m^2)

·         Tower 2- 40m high glazed Atrium + canopy: horizontal trusses at 4.05 spacing

TRUSSES: chords 140×5 CHS, truss bracing 102×4 CHS, outer hanger 60mm solid round, inner hanger 89×4 CHS

Horizontal trusses with 26,4m max span, 20kg/m^2 of façade

CANOPY: beams variable depth welded T, hangers 60×3 CHS

·         Retail Skylight- max 15m long, triangular welded rafters (min 130hx60w, max 360hx165w) supporting double glazing skylight. 160x80x4 RHS bracing


Completion date of cladding Tower 2 the Jewel completed in July 2018
Cladding profile/ type used Tower 2- the “Jewel” glazing support steel brackets: 

Alternating brackets top and underside of slabs to support unitised glazed triangular panels

Top bracket: 8mm folded and shaped steel plates

Bottom bracket: welded 127×64 chennel knee bracket with 50x50x5 bracing

Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage Triangle and diamond shaped unitised double glazed panels structurally glazed to powder coated aluminium frames. 

5000m^2 of glazing supported by 58.2 T of steel brackets


Hazendal Wine Estate – New Administration Center

The new administration wing at the Hazendal wine estate in Stellenbosch is one part of a much larger redevelopment of this historic wine estate. This new building is set out in line with three historical barn structures of a similar scale. This long line of buildings forming the werf edge to this historical farm. Intensive consultations with the Western Cape heritage bodies suggested that this new structure, like the new Edu -Play Center, should be sensitive to the scale of the historical buildings adjacent to it. An added complexity is the close proximity of the new admin wing to the old historical homestead. This resulted in an understated, simple and elegantly detailed building which forms a backdrop to the historical homestead. Clad in all ‘white’ the building was imagined as a modern interpretation of an old cape barn.

Why steel?

Two reasons informed our decision to use steel for the construction for this project. Firstly, the fast-tracked nature of the project and secondly the cladding system called for a light weight steel and timber framing methodology for this double storied structure. The cladding material is a 10mm through-coloured fibre cement panel which forms a ventilated façade on both the wall and the roof. The wall and roof sandwich beneath this cladding is a galvanized steel portal structure of IPE-200 sections with a cold formed section grid supporting waterproofed OSB board as a sealed building envelope on the outside and insulation and drywalling on the inside.

Completion date of steelwork February 2018
Completion date of full project January 2019
Tons of structural steel used 16
Structural profiles used PF I-sections, CFLCs, CHSs
Nominator Meny-Gibert and Associates
Client/ Developer Hazendal Wine Estate
Architect Michael Hackner Architects
Structural Engineer Meny-Gibert and Associates
Quantity Surveyor Prodigious
Main Contractor R + N Master Builders
Steelwork Contractor TGS Concepts
Steel Erector TGS Concepts
Cladding Manufacturer Marley Building Systems
Cladding Supplier First African Claddings
Cladding Contractor First African Claddings
Corrosion Protection

Camp Jao

The completely rebuilt and revamped Jao Camp will retain the same high stilted main area built into the tree canopy, with more private areas in amongst the trees. The camp will comprise two villas and five twins with private plunge pools, lounge and dining areas, kitchen facilities plus en-suite bathrooms, including indoor and outdoor showers. The new Jao Villas, accommodating four people each in the two identical guest rooms, which share the main area, will feature a private vehicle, guide, chef and butler.

Why Steel was chosen

 “Over the years traditionally camps have been built using local hardwood and tinkers. This was not good as the forestation is a real issue. Certified plantation tinkers treated were the next step in the evolution of the Bush camp….. However, The CCX treated tinkers request a lot of maintenance and stress on the roads, service people, low of income dining maintenance and general frustration.

For this reason, we have worked to use pre-manufactured steel structures by SE Steel. This gives us a maintenance free structure that is manufactured off-site and assembled on our pristine site.”

“Having to replace our old substructures provided us with the opportunity to enhance the special features that we always loved about Jao, to make improvements and incorporate extra touches. We are making the most of our camp environment, with buildings set to blend into the tree canopy whilst offering stunning views and honouring our commitment to be as eco-sensitive as possible”, says co-owner of the Jao Reserve, Cathy Kays.

Lead architects, Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, who designed the original Jao in 1999, shared their approach to the rebuild: “We have taken a fresh and contemporary approach to the sense of adventure Jao always had – creating a feeling of not knowing what to expect around the next corner, and the element of surprise and delight in this ever evolving sculptural architectural language. The architecture is a collection of different spaces that take the visitor on a spatial adventure as one enjoys being in the Delta The everchanging architectural structures take their clues from forms found in nature but in a fresh innovative way. Conventional materiality is replaced with a more eco- sensitive palette as the bouquet of spaces and sculptures evolves.

The way one is couched, protected from the environment, is blended into a series of highly sculptural emotive spaces that amplify the blur between the concept of shelter & art/ sculpture & architecture.

The visitor’s poetic mental space is taken to a higher level. The choreography of 24 hours in the Delta has been crystallised into structures that artistically house and heighten each event and ritual experienced when visiting Jao. A family of concepts have been evolved by the architects specifically for the Jao concept”.

The main area will feature both indoor and outdoor lounges, dining areas, a satellite kitchen and several private dining areas, along with a fire deck. The spa at Jao will be tucked in amongst the palms for privacy and is surrounded by water to provide a calming and tranquil atmosphere. The gym will be built on the edge of the island, presenting stunning views over the lush waterways, while the main pool, with its unique canopy pavilion providing shade, will project out into the floodplain with 270-degree views of the Delta.

A colour palette of creams, greens, soft purple and splashes of yellow will be used, incorporating a unique botanical theme with special emphasis placed on the water lily. A range of beautiful new furnishings will be crafted to reflect the theme. A mix of wood and light-coloured Eva-tech decking will contrast with the red balau wooden walkways and lighter floors in the internal areas. The walkways reflect the old camp and provide a striking difference to the room interiors, which will be more refined in appearance. Comfort is provided through cooling and heating systems, complementing the camp design. Using Climate Wizard, an Australian cooling system, the suites and villas will be cooled with an indirect evaporative cooler that delivers a large amount of cold air with no added moisture, for a fraction of the energy used by conventional air conditioning systems. Self-igniting Calore stoves will provide heating during the colder months.

Design choices amplify the eco-sensitivity of the structure. The steep angling back wall and roof are made with fibre roofing material, with the interior clad in fibre reed and the exterior clad in fibre palm tiles. The rest of the walls are constructed from a combination of canvas and gauze, with minimal glass in front of the bed and bath. Using aluminum frames, large parts of the front of the room will open up. The main structures are all made out of steel that is painted a gum pole colour. The roofs will also feature gum poles and latte poles to support the fibre roofing on the inside, with

wooden plyboard to which the reed is attached. For maximum eco-efficiency, built walls will feature Cavitybatt insulation and an added board of plywood, with waterproofing and fibre palm attached to the top layer. We have made great use of natural lighting – parts of the roof feature sky lights covered with latte poles to provide shaded, dappled lighting. All buildings will have a latte verandah roof to provide extra shade.

A key feature is the museum and gallery, described by Rech and Carstens as follows:

“Imagine a building that houses all our thoughts pertaining to visiting the Okavango Delta This is how the concept of the Gallery and Museum was borne. This creates a centre where visiting scientists and researchers can present their research, and where items can be displayed for educational purposes. There are also always a large number of found objects that are interesting from a guest perspective as they give a greater understanding of the area such as local plants and animal bones, as well as geographical maps and artworks of the region. We are building a double volume structure that has the Gallery on the upper level- where these items can be displayed to greater effect, rather than just render them décor items and the Shop on the lower level. Among the Gallery items will be a series of prints from the National herbarium in Pretoria of Botanical pressing made by Cathy Kays great grandfather- E.E Galpin- who was one of the pre-eminent botanists of his time and has been called the ‘Prince of Collectors”. He left 16000 sheets to the herbarium and a number of plant species have been named after him. We are selecting plants of the region that he identified. Other items on display will be a series of animal skeletons, mounted and displayed like a museum, for educational purpose. The current plan is for a giraffe skeleton. Obviously, these are skeletons of animals that have died from natural attrition, so they take some time to source.” From waterways and lagoons to dry Kalahari grasslands, Jao’s location on a remote island in one of the most picturesque concessions in the Delta provides both land and water Okavango experiences, with day and night game drives all year round.

“We are delighted with the progress of the rebuild to date, and look forward to welcoming our guests back to our new and enhanced Jao Camp in 2019”, Cathy concludes.


Completion date of steelwork March 2019
Completion date of full project June 2019
Tons of structural steel used 330 Tons
Structural profiles used Tubes and I-Beams all cold rolled
 Completion date of LSFB work March 2019
Completion date of full project June 2019
Tons of LSF used 330 Tons
Profiles used Tubes and I-Beams all cold rolled


The Main Straight Office Park Building, Block C

The Boogertman + Partners building is a 2 storey structure, vs the 3 storey structures of the other 4 adjacent buildings. We wanted to maintain the same overall height per building for aesthetics and for as much volume as allowed, within an imposed height restriction. These restrictions guided us in the choice for a vaulted steel upper roof structure. The Apex is at exactly the maximum height allowed, to create a multi-volume production office space.

What was the brief to the architect?

The brief called for a division of spaces over 2 levels, for public (Meet /Make) and private (Work/Staff) space. Usable height was to be maximized, in effect creating space over 2 floors, usually used for 3 floors. A Higher floor to soffit height was also achieved. The upper ‘drawing office’ was to be enclosed in a light and airy enclosure, with maximum void space, and light penetration from a vast northern exposure.

Was the project envisaged in steel from the start? If not – why was it built in steel in the end?

The previously developed buildings, and other 2 buildings of the second phase where all concrete framed & roofed buildings. The one other building also reverted to a steel roof for programme reasons. The Boogertman + Partners building was planned and designed as a steel-roofed building, for quick construction, it’s ‘industrial warehouse’ aesthetic, and as a cost vs time consideration.

Give a brief description of the structural framing. What type of sections were used (e.g. hollow, cellular, I beams etc) and why?

The large Steel portal frames, where designed as 456×190 H-sections, with cross bracing in 150 square hollow section tubes. The back of the portal frames rests on a concrete beam and the front ends extend down to ground floor level.

The space between portal frames is filled in with a framed glass curtain wall on both the north and south sides. The ridge is off-center, creating a mansard type aesthetic, similar to a warehouse type saw-tooth roof arrangement. On the south side, smoke ventilators are incorporated within the portal frame structure, in a vertical application. All AC & Electrical lighting services are exposed in the open double volume space. The bare steel was painted in corporate CI colours of Black and White with the B+P Orange as a highlight color. The external shading structure also needed to be integrated with the portal framing in a seamless fashion, using tubular steel sections.

Give a brief description of the cladding process (complexity, difficulty, innovation etc)

The lightweight roof structure has quite a complex sandwich structure, to accommodate the external sheeting layer, intermediate insulation layers for sound, heat, air gap, and acoustic lower ceiling layer, all of which free-spans across the totally exposed steel portal frame. Long discussions with the acoustic consultant, Ivan Linn ensued to find the right balance between a lightweight, affordable roof, and the required sound attenuation & occupancy comfort levels.

Because all services were exposed, the fixing, suspension, and overall finish of lights and AC ducts had to be carefully planned. There was no ceiling void in which to hide any services.

GIve a brief description of the Light Steel Frame Building element of the project. (Notable features/ achievements made possible by LSFB)

The contractor’s programme was tight, and so also space on site for materials and maneuvering. A Spider crane was employed to lift and place pre-fabricated steel portal frame sections into place. Finishing of the steel and connections were carefully planned because all steel is exposed and visible, and welding had to be very neat.

Were there any challenges in the fabrication of the project from the engineer’s design – if yes, please tell? Tell more about the fabrication and erection process if it was complex, difficult, innovative etc.

The Structural Engineer, from Sutherland Engineers, worked closely with Iguana, the main contractor and Central Welding, the steel fabricators to comply with a very tight programme, shop drawing approval process and limited site access for erection of the steel framing. (more info from Sutherland/Iguana/Central welding)

What is special/ unusual/ innovative/ aesthetic about the steelwork/cladding in this project?

The steel portal framing and bracing is totally exposed and very much part of the overall aesthetic. Bright bold colour is used to dress & celebrate the steel structure. The steel portal frame is a strong & integral design element, framing the building, and identifying the double volume office space.

How did the project team work together (e.g. contractor involved early, challenges/ ease of communication etc.)

All parties, from the Architect, to the Engineers, the contractor and the fabricator worked hand in hand to overcome challenges. A lot of back & forth was needed to get everything just right. Any successful project has to rely on mutual respect, and individual contributions as well as a concerted team effort, all of which was prevalent in this project.

Completion date of steelwork April 2018
Completion date of full project June 2018
Tons of structural steel used 28.5 tons
Structural profiles used I Beams, SHS’s and CFLS’s
SA content – if this is an export project Yes done in SA
Completion date of LSFB work April  2018
Completion date of full project June 2018
Tons of LSF used 4.38
Span of trusses and Kg/m2 (if applicable) None applicable
Profiles used Canopies and Screens 


Type of cladding KLIP-LOK 406’ PROFILE 0,58MM
Completion date of cladding May 2018
Cladding profile/ type used KLIP-LOK 406’ PROFILE 0,58MM
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 720m2
Nominator Boogertman and Partners (Pty) Ltd
Client/ Developer RPP Developments
Architect B+P Architects
Structural Engineer Sutherland Engineers
Quantity Surveyor Pentad Quantity Surveyors
Project Manager CPD Project Management
Main Contractor Iguana Projects
Steelwork Contractor Central Welding Works
Steel Erector Central Welding Works
Cladding Manufacturer Brownbuild
Cladding Supplier Brownbuild
Cladding Contractor Steel Roofing
Corrosion Protection
Paintwork Contractor
Firstclass Projects


Hazendal Wine Estate – New Educational Play Center

The Educational-Play Center at the Hazendal Wine Estate in Stellenbosch is a new building forming part of the redevelopment of this heritage wine estate. The facility is named Wonderdal.

After various designs were proposed to the three heritage bodies involved in this building’s approval, the final design of the building was agreed upon. These heritage bodies did not have a unified vision and what was preferred by one was not accepted by another.

The close proximity of the new facility to the historical building had to be considered. The new building design had to respond in a sensitive manner to the scale and not dominate the existing old structure.

The nature of the building programme, that of a play center, suggested that the design of the new facility should be a simple Box Shed. This building type was approved by one heritage body but rejected by another. Therefore, to reduce the impact of this Box Shed, two new barns similar in scale to the historical buildings where introduced. This formed a rhythmic streetscape where the space between the barns formed courtyard spaces for entrance and deli spillover seating. The shed roof that floats over these barns forms the main double volume required for the play center’s apparatus and functions. Where the floating roof and barns meet, they are connected with glass. This new building also houses the main kitchen which serves as the farm’s new Deli Restaurant which is located in the attached old historical barn.

The façade and parts of the roof of the building consist of white concrete panels and large glass windows which afford little space for vertical bracing to resist high lateral wind loading the open farmland. The lateral deflection of the building had to be minimized to prevent cracking of the glass facades. This was resolved by designing all columns and bases to act as vertical cantilevers.

All roof beams were fixed to the columns with moment connections to further enhance the lateral stiffness of the building. In order to achieve neat inconspicuous connections, the top flange at the beam ends was cut away to allow a small workspace. All bolts, end plates and stiffer plates were fixed on the inside of the square hollow sections (refer to the attached details).  

The choice of materials and structural design of details resulted in a steel frame with a neat non-industrial appearance.  

Completion date of steelwork May 2018
Completion date of full project March 2019
Tons of structural steel used 44.2 Tons
Structural profiles used 200x200x6 SHS, 203 x 203 x 46 H, 203x133x30 I
Nominator Michael Hackner Architects
Client/ Developer Hazendal Wine Estate
Architect Michael Hackner Architects
Quantity Surveyor Prodigious
Project Manager  
Main Contractor R + N Master Builders
Steelwork Contractor TGS Concepts
Steel Erector TGS Concepts
Corrosion Protection
Nominator Michael Hackner Architects
Client/ Developer Hazendal Wine Estate
Architect Michael Hackner Architects
Structural Engineer JTL Structures cc
Quantity Surveyor Prodigious
Main Contractor R + N Master Builders
Steelwork Contractor TGS Concepts
Steel Erector TGS Concepts
Corrosion Protection
Photographer, Photo competition Michael Hackner Architects

6 Sidmouth Avenue Oranjezicht

6 Sidmouth Avenue is the remodelling of an existing old Oranjezicht home. Oranjezicht is an old suburb in the Cape Town city bowl, situated on the slopes of Table Mountain.

Most of these old homes face north, look over the city below and have imposing but spectacular mountain views at their rears.

The existing old home was a typical 50’s ‘box’ type double story home but lacking real architectural merit. The brief called for a complete renovation and make-over. This involved adding a floor for a new main bedroom suite as well as gutting, re-planning and enlarging the living and kitchen areas on the lower levels. In addition, the landscape was reshaped with new outside living areas. Only what now is the middle level was retained in a planning sense.

The existing kitchen (at the rear) had to be opened to take advantage of the mountain views. By introducing a 1x8m steel girder weighing about a ton were we able to support the weight of the structure above and bring the views into the kitchen. This girder had to be craned over the house to get it in place. A new steel cranked roof, forming a kitchen living space was clipped onto the front of this girder. The cranked angle of this roof allowed unimpeded views into the kitchen and maximized the views from its adjacent living space. This room, in turn, opens up onto the pool area at the rear of the property.

The use of reversed IBR profile cladding on the verticals was used as a device to tie in the new roof conversion with the old walls below. The result is a homogenous blend of the old and new, pulling the whole design together. We wanted to avoid the extension looking like an afterthought. One other innovation was the use of powder-coated steel window boxes which project from the façade. These have a dual role of being the main window flashing element in the lightweight walls and the finishing gasket against the IBR sheeting. This was used in lieu of the standard wide steel flat profile normally used around sheet façade openings.

Due to the old structure, there was uncertainty around the bearing capacity of the old walls, and it was decided very early on in the project to propose LSF. Many existing and critical ground floor support walls and beams were removed. To compensate, hot rolled structural steel elements had to be introduced under the existing first-floor slabs. The lightweight nature of LSF above was critical to the success of these supports. The nature of the steel cladding also lent itself perfectly to the use of LSF. A further challenge was to connect and combine the LSF roof elements with some long span timber laminated beams which spanned the entire length (gable to gable) of the upper level. 

I was already familiar with LSF technology, having used it on two prior projects. The prior experience I gained using LSF had introduced me to the key players in the industry, namely the structural engineer and the LSF contractor. I had also worked with the main contractor so that there was a familiarity in the professional team, and we had a good working relationship. Unfortunately, the LSF contractor ran into financial difficulty early on during the erection of the LSF. He abandoned the project leaving the client and the professional team to pick up the pieces. Our main challenge was that the budget did not allow us to re-tender the LSF and cladding and so the main contractor, client and myself project-managed the LSF. One of the LSF Contractor’s former erectors, a Zimbabwean named Para Chimimba, was brought in to complete the works. We, therefore, lost the time-saving benefits of using LSF. The project was delayed causing enormous financial pressure for the client and created a challenging working environment. Despite this challenge, we managed to pull it off – and the proof is in the result.

Completion date of LSFB work March 2017
Completion date of full project January/February 2018
Tons of LSF used 3 Tons
Profiles used 89mm .75 lip channel 


Completion date of cladding June 2017
Cladding profile/ type used IBR – inverted
Nominator Chris Wood Architect
Architect Chris Wood Architect
Structural Engineer By Design Consulting Eng
Main Contractor Arba Construction
Steelwork Contractor Arba Construction
Cladding Manufacturer Youngman Roofing
Cladding Supplier Youngman Roofing

UNi4 EdTech Centre

The Architectural concept required a continuous vertical regular screen element, suspended up to 3.5 metres from the external façade, about an irregular 3 storey building. Considering all options, galvanised expanded metal cladding was chosen, made up in the order of 2.1 meters by 1.2-metres panels fixed to a supporting peripheral framework.

Supporting frames, comprising braced tubular and hot rolled sections were fixed at convenient structural locations about the perimeter, to the columns and floors slabs, at up to 9.0-metre centres.

Sheeting rails comprising “T” sections fabricated from hot rolled H and I sections, span between the frames, with the mesh angle edged panels connected to the rails.  All sections were hot dipped galvanised and connections site bolted.

All steel elements being viewed from within the building were carefully detailed to achieve an aesthetic industrial appearance of featured steelwork sections.

it is considered that the design and detailing efforts, in conjunction with the input from the fabricator and erector, under the Architect’s directive, achieved a unique and noteworthy building steel cladding system.


A few decades ago the construction of the new N3 freeway cut off and isolated the site from its residential context. With freeways on two sides and a suburban access road on the third, the site was now characterised by both second-to-none visibility from the main vehicular accesses into and out of the city, and the related 24/7 freeway noise.

Initially, a single storey free-standing house was built on the site. With the irreconcilable conflict between domesticity and the freeways, it took a few years for residential use to be abandoned. The house was demolished and a compact two-storey office building was constructed above one level of parking.

Although typologically a courtyard layout, the void was filled with meeting rooms, effectively reducing it to a fragmented light-well. The plan arrangement, exterior form and decoratively expressed structure were typical of post-modern geometric and iconographic complexity popular at the time.

In the site’s third iteration to accommodate a UNi4 Institute, our approach was to strip the building to its bare bones, first to enable the development of a  generous, acoustically protected interior patio around which all programmed education and support activities are arranged. And second to shade the building at the same time as radically transforming the exterior in response to the 120km/hr freeway context.

Full of natural light, covered but not enclosed, central to all movement, part garden and part ‘piazza’, the patio is the primary social setting for both incidental and planned interaction at the core of contemporary learning thinking and practice.

Both ground and first levels are conceived as verandahs opening into and overlooking the patio. Very few activities require visual and acoustic privacy. Apart from a raked auditorium, these are located in freestanding enclosures on the ‘verandah’ floors like objects on a terrain.

An industrial version of a trellised verandah, a primary purpose of the free-floating expanded-metal screen is, with one solution, to shade existing highly solar-exposed glazing on all orientations while retaining optimal internal light levels. At the same time, the screen transforms the undefined geometric complexity of the pre-existing external envelope into a smooth, blind, homogenous surface that mediates between the technological and the human, generating an imageable and memorable landmark at the confluence of the freeways. And between these two geometries, a range of open shaded perimeter office and student break-out terraces became possible as more privately accessible versions of the interior courtyard.

Although accommodating parking, the unbuilt area of the site will develop into an endemic sub-tropical landscape, the screen and vegetation together integrating the building and site into its accidental context.

Completion date of steelwork July 2018
Completion date of full project July 2018
Tons of structural steel used Support Frames, 24 Tonnes
Structural profiles used Tubes/Hot Rolled Sections
SA content – if this is an export project 100%
Completion date of cladding July 2018
Cladding profile/ type used Mentis Expanded Metal – Ref 38
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 3 000 Sq Metres/16 Tonnes
Nominator Young + Satharia (Pty) Ltd
Client/ Developer Educor Property Holdings
Architect Design Workshop
Structural Engineer Young + Satharia (Pty) Ltd
Engineer – Civil Young + Satharia (Pty) Ltd
Main Contractor Linear Construction (Pty) Ltd
Steelwork Contractor STS Steel Projects
Cladding Manufacturer Danjay Fabrication
Cladding Supplier Andrew Mentis (Pty) Ltd Trading As Mentis Sales
Cladding Contractor STS Steel Projects
Corrosion Protection
Pinetown Galvanising


Mega Shed

First and foremost, the space was intended to be practical and utilitarian. It had to accommodate four cars and a workshop on the ground level, and a space in which the client could work, entertain and relax – a multi-use mezzanine level was incorporated for this purpose. Notwithstanding this functional focus, it was also intended for the structure to assume an interesting and visually pleasing form.


On a trip to Iceland in 2017 the client was struck by the number of buildings, both traditional
residential and modern commercial/mixed use, which were constructed in, or at least clad by,
steel. Furthermore, the clean lines and stark simplicity of Scandinavian design were greatly
appealing. Inspired by this, the client undertook a few concept sketches for a garage/workshop
which he thought would be an interesting project to undertake. He also wished to experiment with using steel as a building material, with a view to possibly employing the materials and methods in a house-build in the future.

The brief from the client was to design a multi-use garage-workshop-studio in a Scandinavian minimalist style, based on the concept sketches and imagery provided. The client felt strongly that the structural materials used in the construction were to be celebrated and presented as feature elements, not concealed by plaster, paint, etc. Steel I-beams are left exposed throughout the structure and all the internal walls and ceilings are clad in raw Oriented Strand Boards (OSB), a material not often considered a finishing.

The client always envisaged using steel for the exterior cladding. The one inherent challenge was that the structure might appear too ‘industrial’ for a suburban setting. This was mitigated by the use of timber externally (both on the double sectional garage doors and the cladding on the underside of the roof overhang) and internally (with the use of OSB cladding throughout).

Structural framing:
The structural framing consisted of I beams and lip channels mostly to keep the costs to a
minimum as well as keeping the main framing as basic as possible. The I beams were used for
the main portal frame to also allow the internal timber cladding to terminate into the top flange of
the beam while leaving the rest of the beam exposed as a feature. The I beam for the mezzanine also allowed for the structural timber beams to be supported within the flange of the beam.

The cladding seemed a standard application, specialized workmanship was required in aligning
the rib lines from the roof cladding down onto the side cladding, further the complexity ensued in the flashing details, whereby the eaves flashing had to conceal the edge of the roof cladding and the flow of the water. The barge and corner flashing were made up to suit the rib lines of the cladding. A specially designed gutter and cover flashing were required on the splayed end of the roof cladding ensuing a concealed edge and conforming with the eaves flashing, further all
cladding troughs covered by flashing were sealed with serrated closers.
The design incorporated an asymmetrical roof overhang detail, which was to be clad in timber on the underside, to match the garage doors. AS mentioned above the overhang required a concealed gutter and flashings which had to be custom-fabricated. Furthermore, all flashings on the front side of the structure were custom-fabricated in a slimmer profile than standard, to attain the level of aesthetics required by the client.

Completion date of steelwork 5 September 2018
Completion date of full project 1 March 2019
Tons of structural steel used +/- 4 tons
Structural profiles used 203x133x25 I Beams, 254x146x31 I beams , 356x171x51 I beam and 125x25x2.5 steel purlins
Completion date of cladding 18 October 2018
Cladding profile/ type used 0,55mm C1S Colorplus  “Thunderstorm” Nu-Rib roof, side and gable cladding


Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 245 sqm/ 840 kg

Eduplex Sport Crossfit

The project required a space whereby the fitness programme of CrossFit could be executed. CrossFit workouts are comprised of constantly varied functional movements (like pushing, pulling, squatting, lifting, running) executed at high intensity. These workouts required a space that would be large enough to accommodate all participants as well as support all the necessary equipment in an inviting, comfortable and invigorating environment.

What was the brief to the architect?

The brief was to design a unique, functional & inexpensive structure that could allow for activities and exercises to take place outside but would protect participants from the elements & shield them from harsh western sunlight.

Was the project envisaged in steel from the start? If not – why was it built in steel in the end?

The structure was always envisaged in steel to allow for the large exercise area to be covered under a roof, unencumbered by unnecessary structure. Steel structures can accommodate these large spans and column spacing, creating a generous unobstructed area to exercise and the extra benefit of having exercise equipment fixed to the structure as required by the programme. The structural efficiency of steel allowed for feature cantilevered solar shades that protects participants from the harsh western sunlight.

Give a brief description of the structural framing. What type of sections were used (e.g. hollow, cellular, I beams etc) and why?

Hollow rectangular sections for exposed roof purlins

Lipped channel sections for concealed roof purlins

I-Sections and H-Sections for support columns, beams and rafters

Round Hollow Sections to support solar shading devices

Were there any challenges in the fabrication of the project from the engineer’s design – if yes, please tell? Tell more about fabrication and erection process if it was complex, difficult, innovative etc.

The challenge on this project was to design an inexpensive structure that would meet the needs of the Client and users and still be aesthetically pleasing. All of the steel work was fabricated off site and then erected on site, which ensured a high degree of accuracy & finish.

What is special/ unusual/ innovative/ aesthetic about the steelwork/cladding in this project?

All the steel work was exposed and visible therefor all the connections, fixings and joints had to be finished off to a high level. The design of the structure had to also accommodate the needs of the CrossFit programme.

How did the project team work together (e.g. contractor involved early, challenges/ ease of communication etc.)

The Engineer and Architect worked closely together with the Client and CrossFit trainers to design a functional and cost effective structure that would meet all the needs of the proposed users, and present something uniquely different to the typical lean to structure it could have been. Instead pragmatism becomes architecture, on a young Sports Campus with high aspirations.

Completion date of steelwork June 2017
Completion date of full project August 2017
Tons of structural steel used 8 tons
Structural profiles used I-Sections, Lipped Channels
March 2018 July 2017
Cladding profile/ type used GRS Kliplok 700 Roof Sheeting
Cladding area/ coverage and tonnage 300 m2