Alexandra Place

April 15, 2024
alexandra place - courtyard area #1
alexandra place - exterior #1
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alexandra place - exterior #7


A stunning refurbishment of an existing mixed-use retail/residential building block, utilises Colorplus® steel, by Safal Steel, as cladding for the external envelope in a lightweight construction drive to incorporate an additional new floor onto the existing structure.

SLT Architects were commissioned by the owner of the property, who had also recently acquired the adjoining property, to design a repurposed building consisting of a ground floor for business and two floors above for apartments. The existing structure had been a double story only.

This existing two storey corner building is located on a very busy and well-known main road in Somerset West. Consisting of retail spaces on the ground floor and abandoned residential first floor. The new owners found it crucial to create a bold sense of transformation, aiding to uplift the immediate surrounding area and setting a precedent for neighboring retailers.

The lightweight properties of AZ steel roofing and cladding specified.

Explains Niel Marx, of SLT Architects, the project architect on the project: “The entire layout of this existing building was reworked and redesigned with a focus on urban rehabilitation. The residential component of the building extends to the new top floor which is carefully engineered and designed with lightweight concrete walls and the use of a pre-painted steel clad external envelope.“

The adjoining property, Alexandra House, a classic Art-Deco building, was also acquired by the same developer who consolidated the two erven and whose vision was to create urban harmony between the two buildings and to participate in the process of urban renewal.

“The original building was designed to accommodate 3 storeys. However, the third storey (the second level) was never built. Upon further investigation, we found the original structure would be best suited to accommodate a light weight third storey, without having to implement major structural modifications.  This included the specification of lightweight autoclaved aerated concrete as well as steel cladding for the newly built exterior envelope” Marx adds.

The lightweight steel cladding of choice was AZ150, Colorplus® in colour Thunderstorm, by Safal Steel, expertly formed into a SAFLOK 700 profile by Safintra.

Similarly, the roofing sections over the newly constructed 2nd floor were covered with Colorplus® in the SAFLOK 700 profile in colour Thunderstorm.

Aesthetics and vernacular

It was no simple design task to combine a legacy Art Deco with a former mixed-use building together and develop a common vernacular.

Marx explains that this was done by utilising dark steel, not only as cladding, but also for the balconies and for ribbed brise-soleil type of structure between the two buildings. This helped with the perceived scale of the building. Sitting slightly back from the second storey facade, the third storey facade creates a less dominating, non-top-heavy look and feel. “We again, pulled the curves through the design but this time in plan as seen on the top curved line of the steel cladded flashing of the roof line.

“Alexandra House, the original art-deco building, was only lightly renovated. Alexandra Place pays homage to the original style but with a modern twist, aka Modern Art Deco” adds Marx.

Longevity and good looks

The steel alloy coating on Colorplus® substrate, Zincal®, protects the steel substrate in two ways: The aluminium part of the coating provides a tough physical barrier, while the zinc component provides sacrificial protection, also protecting the steel at the cut edges. The superior corrosive property increases the life of the steel core up to four times longer than that of conventional galvanized steel.

In areas close to the sea, such as Somerset West, this becomes a on-negotiable in ensuring sustainability and long life for the newly refurbished building.

An additional huge advantage of Zincal® or Colorplus® is its lightweight nature when compared with typical galvanized steel. This lends itself to modern sustainable construction methods, promoting dematerialization, lower transport costs, longer life in service and reducing the footprint of the building on the earth.

But it is more than that. The architects’ choice of Colorplus® speaks to creativity in the form of the building and in linking together two strikingly different genres of design. Beauty within a building comes from the elegant choice of the right materials and Colorplus® hits the spot for this design.

Safal Steel warrants its Zincal® and Colorplus® (colour coated steel) to have a service life (prior to perforation by weathering in the natural elements) from date of installation. Warranty periods are determined by Safal Steel and may vary according to project design and location. A Provisional Warranty may be applied for at project design stage; this warranty serves as a guideline as to the final warranty Safal Steel may issue on project completion. A Final Warranty application form may be submitted to Safal Steel by the roll former on project completion, requesting Safal Steel to issue a warranty for the specific material used on a specific project.

Look for the trademark. All Safal Steel prime material is branded on the backing coat – insist on Safal Steel material.

For any technical queries please contact Safal Steel and ask for the representative in your area.

Project team:

Client: Blouvin Beleggings
Architect: Niel Marx – SLTA
Project Manager: Kunigi
QS: De Leeuw Group (Stellenbosch)
Structural Engineer: KLS Consulting Engineers
Electrical Engineer: KLS Consulting Engineers
Fire and Mechanical Engineer: Tom Esterhuizen and Associates
Main Contractor: Mastec Construction
Roofing contractor: Chartwell Roofing
Roofing and cladding rollformer: Safintra, Cape
Roofing material supplier: Safal Steel
Photography by: Johann Lourens courtesy of SLT Architects

Products used:

  • Colorplus® AZ150 in colour Thuderstorm – supplied by Safal Steel
  • Roofing profile – SAFLOK 700 profile supplied by Safintra

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