Africa is marching forward and that too at a rapid pace. And one indication of this is the number of buildings coming up in major cities of Africa like Lagos, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cairo, Cape Town, Durban, Harare and Abidjan. Added to this list are cities like Maputo, Abuja, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, Luanda and Port Louis. This building, Leonardo, scheduled for completion this year, is one such buildings but has several distinctions to its credit. Do you know what’s the significance of this building?
Leonardo, designed by Johannesburg based architecture practice, Co-Arc International is the consequence of a lifelong professional relationship with the client. 55-storey building, Leonardo in Johannesburg, which is scheduled for completion this year, will be the tallest in Africa, overtaking 54-storey Ponte City Apartments.
Its not just the height but also the people behind the design too make this mixed use structure a unique one. Leonardo’s design team is predominantly female-led which is also a unique thing making the building a special one. Co-Arc International Architects director Catharine Atkins and architect Malika Walele are the leading women behind the project which has invoked curiosity of many.
“With due regard to South Africa’s high level of unemployment, to maximise safety and labour utilisation, the building is largely constructed from concrete and masonry with the external skin consisting of transportable components, assembled and erected from the inside. Its ground breaking use of engineered ‘stone’ as a cladding material allows for a lightweight perimeter skin that forms a weather shield and creates shaded deep recesses for glazed balconies at every level: The refinement and the detailing and careful consideration of materials results in an apparently simple yet timelessly elegant façade,” say the architects.
The public is welcomed into the building via a triple-volume arcade and a series of ground public rooms to a variety of public facilities including a 5th floor podium terrace and 55th floor sky-deck.