Ridge 8, the eighth office building to be developed by FWJK in the Umhlanga Ridgeside Office Precinct, comprises 5 000m² of prime A Grade office space. Located just two sites down from the hugely successful Ridge 7 development. The Ridge 8 development brings the total office space developed by FWJK in Ridgeside, Umhlanga to 38 000m².
Ridge 8’s slender structure rises out of the compact site, with seven storeys of parking and six storeys of superior office space, parking is provided at a rate of five bays/100m² of usable area. With the parking levels designed above ground, the office levels reach the full mean sea level height allowable and therefore maximise on the unobstructed views. Ridge 8 is oriented towards the panoramic sea views to the east as well as views of Umhlanga Rocks to the north, with most office suites opening out onto balconies.
The office floor plates have been designed with flexibility in mind. The post-tensioned slabs and efficient basement planning allow for greater spans in the column design, thereby minimising the number of columns in the floor plate and allowing for greater flexibility in office planning. Centrally positioning the services, the circulation system and shared ablutions per level allows for a variety in office space sizing requirements, whilst future proofing the building to allow for interchangeable functionality. The design layout achieves a design efficiency ratio (rentable/usable) of 86% which is the hallmark of FWJK developments in reducing costs whilst increasing efficiency.
Ridge 8 is nestled in the epicentre of this prime, high-density, urban mixed-use precinct, located centrally just 20km from King Shaka International Airport, a short 15km from Durban’s CBD, and within walking distance from Gateway Shopping Centre. The building can be approached from a multitude of routes, with easy access to the M4, M41 and N2 major arterial highways.
The building design incorporates a variety of breakaway zones for its occupants. The rooftop level boasts an entertainment area on the 15th floor, providing the ultimate breakaway space from the office environment. The 10th floor has an entertainment and garden area, providing more of a private, breakaway space with built-in braai facilities for the building occupants. At ground level, pedestrian activity was an important design generator; the pedestrian entrance sits adjacent to the ground floor retail space, spilling out towards the pavement, attracting and engaging with pedestrians passing by and functioning as one welcoming space for tenants and pedestrians.
Eliminating the basement meant no time spent in the ground, allowing for construction time to be reduced. The use of unitised glazing and off shutter concrete edges meant a reduction in the required scaffolding, saving on time and cost with a superior quality finish as the result. The slab edges of the building have been designed and constructed to showcase the raw off-shutter concrete finish, reducing the maintenance required to the facades in the future.
The second floor of the building is home to a quadruple volume tree void, breathing the surrounding ecosystem into the focal façade of the building. The focal façade incorporates large glazing elements towards the panoramic sea views. Central to the focal façade is a 14-storey unitised glazing system emphasising the slender, grandeur of the development.
Ridge 8 is a modern, timeless focal point of this prime, high-density, urban mixed-use precinct with uninterrupted sea views. The architecture of Ridge 8 aims to be contemporary and progressive. Designed to read as one element, blurring the lines between parking levels and offices levels, the building engages intimately with the street edge, breathing life into the urban fabric of the precinct and giving the building form an image of stature and prominence on the boulevard. The use of perforated screens, long-spanning glazing elements and balcony lines create balance, repetition, and something unique to the precinct.
Security and energy saving
The building has an extensive CCTV camera system, which is monitored by both the onsite security guards and also by an independent offsite security company 24 hours, 7 days a week, including electronic and biometric access control into the building and throughout the lift lobbies.
The building also incorporates energy efficient LED lighting throughout, including motion sensors in utility section areas such as the offices ablution cores and timers linked to the basement parking designed to reduce the parking lighting after working hours in an effort to save on consumption.
The building is further equipped with a 350KVA emergency generator which runs all power and lighting within the building in the event of power cuts and more specifically, to deal with loadshedding, with which the country has come accustomed to.
A large panel tank was installed on the ground floor which serves as a backup potable water reverse for the building occupants in the event of a temporary water shortage and also serves as the reserve tank for the fire sprinkler system installed.
The development was completed not without its challenges. The national lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which was imposed by the Government with only three months left before the anticipated date of practical completion.
As devastating as the wide-reaching effects of the national lockdown were for all parties involved, the developers and professional team remained in constant contact with the main building contractor, WBHO Construction (Pty) Ltd, and formalised a solid strategy to return to the site when allowed to and ramp up production in a safe manner, following all Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
The project was completed within the original allotted construction period stated within the contract, notwithstanding the extension of time granted under the provisions of the contract for the duration of the lockdown. Despite these challenges and many others that come with the implementation and building management of complex high right structures, the development was completed to a high standard of finishes and is a stunning addition to the Umhlanga Ridge skyline.