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Waterfall Wilds Lifestyle Centre

Client / Owner / Developer: Maximix (Pty) Ltd
Architect: Krynau Nel Associates
Structural Engineer: Fellows Consulting
Quantity Surveyor: ETHIQS Quantity Surveyors
Project Manager: Harrison Project Management
Project Management and Technical Structural Steel: Intergrated Site Control
Main Contractor: Gothic Construction (Pty) Ltd
Steelwork Contractor: Spiral Engineering
Balustrades Contractor: A&D Services (Pty) Ltd
Steelworks Contractory Nursery Columns: RSB Contracts cc
Structural Steel Detailer / Detailing Company: KRU Detailing
Cladding Supplier: Pinnacle Cladding
Painting: Tasene Painters

The project consisted of construction of a new retail centre comprising 1250 sqm basement and 2635 sqm ground floor retail and associated site works.

The Architects comment: “Can I make a building where there is virtually no exterior of the building visible but the interior presents as large, imposing and memorable?”

Sitting on the Jukskei River with great river views and also a wetlands area forming part of the green belt a building was needed that sits in the greenbelt but does not further impose or reduce the greenbelt. With 3 hefty neighbours on the other street corners, there was a reason not to compete and rather opt out by making a very understated building as inconspicuous as possible.

A very compromised site lower than the road resulted in incredibly complex and curved and twisted shapes. The building had to flex through various angles to maximise parking and outdoor restraints of a prestigious outdoor Nursery and planting area.

Steel was the obvious answer as with the double column system the direction changes could be accommodated without losing visual cohesion to the inside that presents itself unexpectedly on entry. The inner tubular Skeletal spine with diagonal Rafters fully welded generally all white interior in a single volume presents itself as a sophisticated Steel design in stark contrast to the external Shed appearance. As the Architect aptly puts it “ Cocoon Space”.


On Site Jig Assembly

Construction No 3 Tenant 3 No 3

On the outside, the double roofs broken into above and below clerestory fragments the large inner volumes and with deep overhang shadow lines present much smaller surfaces more appropriate to human scale and the “Disappearance of another building”  These shallow horizontal bands make the prediction of the large interiors virtually impossible.

The bulk of the structure being Tubular double columns presents as trees branching up and out tapering and at various angles to the sky in soaring forms reminiscent of the old Gothic Structures. To deal with the site slopes a singular wall plate height was set and the steps to the various floor levels with varying column heights. Steel was used to both achieve the desired design effect as well as enabling a fast enclosure of the Structures. Allowing for a fast track programme and construction period.

The idea of a Shed on the Waterfall farm which reveals the sophistication of a dynamic Tubular Steel Structure beneath the Kliptite Cladding. The spine of which is fully welded through the length of the building, custom built to suit an array of specialist and respected tenants. This was all achieved within very tight budget and programme restraints of a traditional retail development makes this project stand out as something special and could only be achieved by the use of Steel as a building medium.

The design process was a particular challenge with nothing being the normal parameters and connections, anything but!!! Very close collaboration between the Architect, Engineer, Steel Contractor and the Shop Detailing team was needed to iron out a myriad of practical solutions and interfaces prior to manufacture commencing.

With regards the detailing and fabrication there were many challenges to conceptualise and implement practical details and connections to achieve the desired affect visualised by the Design Team. The fabrication of the Diagonal rafters was carried out in off-site Jigs allowing for accuracy and the varying centres and offsets required for the building layout. In particular, the challenge of lining up the purlin cleats made this process absolutely essential. As the diagonal rafters forming cross framework was too large for transport, these had to be dismantled and then re-assembled on site and site welded prior to hoisting into final position. A similar jig was constructed on site to reassemble. The main skeleton comprising the columns and rafters is a fully welded construction with the purlins and Ties bolted to the outer surfaces of the skeleton. The main skeletal spine fabricated tubular columns bending and tapering to tubular rafters crossing over between bays provides a unique design variation. There was nothing in this building with a standard structural connection and although very architectural, this was still a retail development with very definite timelines and deadlines to be met for the success of the financial model to work on the project. It took a special effort once the shop detailing was complete by the entire spiral team to execute this structure to the desired quality standards and programme. Special mention to the site teams and main contractor who worked tirelessly through the December shutdown to achieve what seemed at one point to be an imposable task.

The challenges were mainly brought about by the development of workable connections in keeping with the Architects vision of the tubular spine with diagonal rafters. The column centres were not all constant and direction changes made for unique connections. There was no allowance for tolerance on the Skeletal Framework and the success of the entire project was based on the Fabricator getting the set-out points correct to ensure the plumbness and alignment of the columns and rafters. Careful attention to resourcing the correct skills in all aspects of the project was the only way that this project was able to succeed.

What makes this project special is the fully welded spine structure using tubular columns and Rafters, incorporating bends and tapers with unique connections and details.