AFGRI HEAD OFFICE

AFGRI HEAD OFFICE

Architect
Paragon Architects
Location
Centurion, South Africa | View Map
Category
Offices

AFGRI HEAD OFFICE.

Paragon Architects as Architects

In a sideways nudge and a wink to the more sculptural side of Brazilian modernism, well embedded in Tshwane’s architectural history, Paragon Architects has designed a new head office for AFGRI for Pretoria-based developer, M&T Commercial.


Both client and tenant wanted to maximise the visual impact of an elevated site platform immediately adjacent to the main Johannesburg – Tshwane motorway. The developer had a specific need to set a more ambitious standard of design in its extensive portfolio of commercial buildings, and approached paragon Architects specifically on the basis of its track record for producing innovative contemporary work. AFGRI, as a fast reforming agricultural services and finance business, had to shed a rather staid and conservative corporate image.


This is a catalyst building in a new office park development wedged between the noisy motorway and a surrounding community of low density single storey houses. The form and the detailing of the building had to appeal both to fast-moving motorists and to adjoining residents whose houses face in its direction. A softer, sculptural and flowing form with a memorable silhouette seemed like an appropriate design solution. For the tenant, a comfortable, generous and light-filled building in quite a hard environment was a definite requirement.


Two pavilions of offices, joined at the hip and set at a rakish angle, are cocooned in a curvaceous concrete skin. They dance on pilotis above the corporate lifestyle zone spread on the ground floor.


The glass line follows a different tune of its own, shielding compressed and expanding spaces from sun and weather and noise. Where the glass skin is too indecently exposed to the African sun, a shimmering curvaceous second skin of laser-cut shimmering aluminium louvres, tailored to suit, covers the denuded areas.


The whole is wrapped in ‘azulejos quebrados’, the delectable broken ceramic tile facing made popular again by Santiago Calatrava in recent years. The building glistens in the torrential summer rains and shimmers above the stream of passing cars at night.

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