1 Discovery Place, Sandton. © ANVIL Property Smith
  
  • South African companies are spending an average of R400 million a month building themselves fancy offices.
  • Award-winning architecture and green credentials are important, regardless of the expense.
  • Discovery’s new futuristic headquarters is officially the largest new building project to receive a 5 Star Green Star rating to date.

The economy may not be booming, but big companies have not stopped building themselves some really nice offices.

Statistics South Africa says the cost of completed buildings in the first eight months of 2017 went up by 1.6% from the previous year’s R3.1 billion.

A big part of that money was spent by these companies, who built some of the flashiest (and sometimes best) spaces among their peers — despite stiff competition.

No. 1 Silo

Allan Gray’s head office has sweeping views of Cape Town and the harbour. The building’s architects Van der Merwe Miszewski (VDMMA) went with an urban feel.

Google Street View


The building has scooped up plenty of awards, from the International property award for best office development to the Cape institute of architecture award for architecture.It has open plan workspace, break-away space on the rooftop and, every employee consults with an ergonomist to set up their workstation.


Sasol

The new Sasol office in Sandton has a striking floating glass box that hovers over indigenous parkland.

© Tristan McLaren

Architects Paragon say they wanted to “push boundaries in this design, characterised by light volumes externally, and two dramatic skylights articulated with acoustic baffles internally.”

© Tristan McLaren

It features restaurants, canteens, art galleries, coffee shops, and of course a Sasol One Stop Shop.


Bowmans Law

Traditional wood-panelled (and light-deprived) law offices are starting to seem quaint as law firms emerge as brands.

One of SA’s big five law firms, Bowmans law, revamped its corporate brand by changing its name from Bowmans Gilfillan and complemented the transition with a move to edgy new digs.

© Tristan McLaren

The space is supposed to attract not only the best legal minds, but also clients with deep pockets.


PricewaterhouseCoopers

PWC's new offices are brazen in both design and position. The accounting firm’s twisting 26-storey skyscraper defied the fad of building up in Sandton, instead standing literally in the middle of nowhere (until recently), where it is impossible to miss.

© Gestalt Architectural Photography

“The building is structurally highly complex, because the twist in the form creates torsional forces in the structure which then have to be resisted,”  architects LYT, tell Business Insider South Africa.

Fun fact: there isn’t a single plumb line in the building apart from its core.


Discovery

The financial services group’s new headquarters was designed to be "the physical manifestation of our brand” — as well as put all its employees in one place.

© Robertson Ventilation Industries

The company also asked designers Boogertman and Partners for a place that would inspire wellbeing and movement.

The Green Building Council South Africa gave it a 5-Star Green Star rating.

There is a gym, running track, yoga decks, and multipurpose courts on the landscaped roof, all in line with the insurer’s Vitality programme that advocates an active lifestyle.