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Corobrik Paves the Way to the Future at UNISA in Parow

2012-02-03


Corobrik’s de Hoop pavers define much of the urban hard-landscape of the Western Cape’s cities and towns being well used in the surfacing of pavements, pedestrian thoroughfares and boulevards. In designing the new UNISA building in Parow MSa michele sandilands architects elected to use them both on the floors and the walls. “They used the same product as flooring inside the building but with a polish giving it a glossy sheen. The different applications certainly show how versatile the de Hoop Red 50mm paver can be!” said Corobrik’s, Peter Kidger.

Not cutting a single brick/paver during the construction of an entire building and discovering new and innovative uses for tried and tested building materials are just some of the remarkable design innovations and efficiencies that have made the new UNISA building a great example when it comes to both sustainability and energy efficiency.

Kidger, said attention to detail combined with the incorporation of innovative methods to make the building energy efficient elevated this project to something very special â€" and the fact that Corobrik products had played an integral part in achieving these aims, providing an aesthetically exciting reference point for the use of clay brick in responsible building in South Africa, was most gratifying.

UNISA Parow is centrally located in Cape Town and within easy reach of the rest of the Western Cape, making it an increasingly popular venue for further education. UNISA’s student numbers are increasing steadily and additional accommodation for teaching and examination were required)

According to project architect Russ Wingfield of MSa Michele Sandilands Architects the brief was to provide additional teaching accommodation, an administration wing and associated facilities. As part of an architect led initiative, the creation of a responsible building within the criteria of a changing climate became a priority and the vision was to achieve (in principle) a Green Star rating for the new north and south blocks.

“Our responsibility as architects extends to other issues relevant to the construction process. We aim to deliver buildings that are responsible, minimize impact on the site, provide for recycling and re-use and conserve resources. Our designs evolve from informed decisions which are of benefit to the users, the social and physical environment,” he said.

Wingfield explained that MSa had designed two different but related additions and attached these to the existing building. “The new accommodation consists of 20 classrooms, four examination halls, an internal student square for social activity and study, technical rooms and toilet facilities as well as a separately located wing housing administration office space.”

The building is primarily a structural steel frame with polished concrete floor slabs and de Hoop
Red paver, face brickwork. The pavers were applied in both internal and external wall finishes and are inlayed into the polished concrete floors as banding across the threshold entrance into the building.

“The budget allowed us to consider exposing the raw materials of the building. As a result, the structure, floor and wall surfaces are all raw materials. We designed the building and structural steel to be set out in horizontal brickwork dimensions. Brickwork fitted neatly into a palette of exposed steel structure and polished concrete and sandblasted off-shutter concrete. The face brick pavers’ 50mm vertical dimension resulted in the attractive brick proportions which have contributed to the overall success of the building,” said Wingfield.

He pointed out that brickwork texture lends itself to the articulation of walls and planes with shadow. “We experimented with the brickwork coursing, subtly working within the standard stretcher bond which remains the standard for brickwork and recessing brick pavers either as single elements or as continuous bands. This created interest in what could otherwise have been a bland expanse of a single material.”

He said the architects also experimented with various grades of sandblasting, with finishes depending on the sand used and the time of exposure. “The de Hoop Red has a white fluorescence visible on the surface. For that reason, we decided to sandblast the brickwork throughout. The result was a homogenous solid surface.”

Although the environmental considerations â€" which manifest in lessening reliance on mechanical heating and cooling systems to reduce energy consumption as well as conserving water â€" began with the design, these were soon extended to the choice of building materials.

According to Wingfield, the spaces are all naturally ventilated and controlled through wind towers. The wind towers form a spine along the corridors and provide natural ventilation to the learning spaces and internal social and circulation areas. Cross-ventilation is maximized by the location of automated glazed louvres. When open, users have control over the lower windows to control the amount of cross-ventilation. The classrooms were designed to be flexible for later subdivision into smaller units and the exam halls are divided by means of sliding doors.

The use of passive design solutions such as orientating the building along an East West axis to achieve an easily controlled North and South elevation and window location and glass selection also help regulate heat gain and loss. The high thermal mass property of concrete, stone and masonry that creates a thermal buffer reducing temperature fluctuation in both summer and winter complement this.

Kidger pointed out that passive solar design techniques are fundamental in the pursuit of energy efficient design in the South African climate and thermal mass in the walling envelope, as provided by clay bricks, was integral to energy efficient outcomes. Multiple modeling studies continue to reinforce the contribution of double skin clay brick walling with the appropriate resistance to lowest heating and cooling energy usage.
Wingfield said that over and above the specific characteristics of the building materials themselves, MSa had also prioritized the sourcing of all materials locally. The use of materials such as the Corobrik de Hoop pavers which are sourced from Stellenbosch supported local industry, employment and reduced the necessity of transporting the materials over long distances.

Wingfield added that the use of an inert material like clay pavers in horizontal and vertical surfaces fitted well with the professional team’s responsible material procurement objective which factored in reduction of waste, the reuse of building materials salvaged from the building, the potential recycling of materials in the future, the reduction of volatile organic compound impacts on air quality and the reduction of future maintenance impacts.

Corobrik’s clay bricks have for most part provided the project with a ‘one stop shop’ for addressing the sustainability imperative providing not only enduring aesthetics that will mature in sync with the building and its surrounds, but the opportunity for ensuring low future carbon debt impacts consequent to the materials contribution to energy efficiency and diminished future maintenance requirements.

Photographs: Please request photographs according to the number on the attached montage.
Captions:
Unisa1 -1
Student Square (planted internal social space looking out towards the wall mosaic
Brickwork fitted neatly into a palette of exposed steel structure and polished concrete and sandblasted off-shutter concrete in the student square. A planted internal social space looks out towards the wall mosaic.

Unisa 1 â€" 14
Walkway/Concourse (first floor level), looking towards the double-volume Student Square. Corobrik’s de Hoop pavers were used on both the floors and the walls with the different applications showing how versatile the de Hoop Red 50mm paver can be. This photograph shows the first floor level concourse looking towards the double-volume student square.

Unisa 1 â€" 21
Aesthetic and budgetary considerations led to the exposure of raw materials when it came to the structure as well as the floor and wall surfaces on site at the new UNISA building in Parow.

Unisa 1 â€" 22
The brickwork texture lends itself to the articulation of walls and planes with shadow. The architects experimented with the standard stretcher bond brickwork coursing as well as recessing brick pavers either as single elements or as continuous bands. This created interest in what could otherwise have been a monolithic expanse of a single material. The reason for the 'zip joints'/recesses in the walls was to purposefully prevent cutting any bricks or pavers. Corobrik’s de Hoop pavers were used on both the floors and the walls on new UNISA building in Parow, Cape Town.


Unisa 3 â€" 26
The de Hoop pavers were applied in both internal and external wall finishes and are inlayed into the polished concrete floors as banding across the threshold entrance into the building.

Unisa 3 â€" 23
The brickwork texture lends itself to the articulation of walls and planes with shadow. The architects experimented with the standard stretcher bond brickwork coursing as well as recessing brick pavers either as single elements or as continuous bands. This created interest in what could otherwise have been a monolithic expanse of a single material. The reason for the 'zip joints'/recesses in the walls was to purposefully prevent cutting any bricks or pavers.



This release has been distributed on behalf of Corobrik. For more details contact:

Corobrik â€" Peter Kidger on 031 560 3111
MSa michele Sandilands Architects â€" Michele Sandilands on 021 6865472
 




Corobrik Paves the Way to the Future at UNISA in Parow

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