Illovo Edge in Fricker Road - BAI - Johannesburg

Innovative, functional and sustainable design

Illovo Edge was designed by Bentel Associates International (BAI) and the development is demonstrating that the highest standards of architecture, design and construction are a pre-requisite for an iconic, sought after commercial property.

Strategically situated in the upmarket and cosmopolitan suburb of Illovo in Johannesburg, the contemporary development was constructed within the exclusive Illovo Boulevard Precinct. The pedestrian-friendly precinct is one of the upmarket commercial areas in Gauteng and enjoys a convenient location situated within walking distance of the Gautrain Rosebank Station and the new Rapid Bus Transit route (BRT).

The development at the corner of Harries and Fricker Roads is rapidly becoming the ultimate commercial address for both national and international leading companies. Some of the highest prices per square metre in South Africa are being achieved, surpassing even record prices held by the Melrose Arch development.

BAI celebrates its 50th year of design excellence in 2010. As part of this celebration and to accommodate the growing space requirements of its Johannesburg offices, the company has relocated to Illovo Edge where it occupies one of the two buildings completed in Phase 1.

Illovo Edge, which is expected to cost approximately R2-billion, consists of several phases that are scheduled for completion over the next two to five years. The first three phases include the construction of 16,000m2 of exclusive triple A-grade office space.

Construction on Phase 1 commenced in January 2009 and was completed in May 2010. It incorporates the grand entrance to the office park and the beginning of the spine boulevard, which will traverse the entire office park and ample and unobtrusive tenant and visitor parking.

The component consists of two buildings - Building 1 (2,400 m2) and Building 2 (1,600 m2). Building 2 has been bought in its entirety by BAI, the architects for Illovo Edge.

Phase 2 on Erfs 15 and 16 will consist of a further 8,000 m2 which will be released for sale at the end of 2010. Planned additional phases include an 80,000 to 100,000m2 mixed-use development.

Innovative, highly functional and sustainable architectural design

The impressive ultra modern but timeless architecture epitomizes the design achievements of BAI. The architect's brief was to design a building that would become a landmark for the surrounding Illovo area and a benchmark for office developments on Fricker Road. BAI split the design of the development into a number of different buildings, each with its own identity and entrance. Central to the brief was the idea of the site as a pedestrianised precinct. Extending the Illovo Boulevard into the site and flanking it with two separate buildings achieved both objectives. The spine boulevard gives structure to the office park and is intended to create an imposing avenue with vistas from Melville Road through to Fricker Rd and down Illovo Boulevard.

The use of the diagonal of the boulevard across the rectangular site gave BAI two triangular edges, which helped inform the buildings aesthetic in that the forms of the buildings become statements in themselves. In addition, the site slopes from its furthest end of the diagonal towards the corner at Fricker and Harries Roads. This gave BAI the opportunity to create buildings that appear to sit on podiums and further allowed them to emphasise the angular forms, allowing the sharp ends of the triangles to rise above the ground. This also helped to emphasise the large areas of floor to ceiling glazing and the pure forms of the buildings. Major façade elements include sandstone, steel and glass curtain walling.


There is extensive use of design elements incorporating sustainable 'green' principles. Illovo Edge has adopted world best-practice green energy principles and the development will be registered with the Green Buildings Council of South Africa.

"The essence of designing a high-quality green building is correct orientation," says BAI. "We have included a lot of glazing but this is generally south facing - only secondary light will be penetrating the building, eliminating the possibility of thermal heat build-up. Glazing facing all other directions has been kept to a minimum and carefully positioned to ensure the best possible balance between the superb outward views and reducing direct sunlight into the buildings."

Ecologically friendly materials, finishes and colours were utilized throughout the structure. Natural materials with a small carbon footprint, such as limestone, have been used extensively on the floors and external wall finishes.

"We consulted widely with the professional team to enable us to reach consensus as regards the most effective incorporation of sustainable elements. The buildings will incorporate storm water retention tanks in the basement area for reuse in irrigation and other requirements. A number of other sustainable elements include insulation, thermally efficient glass, energy efficient lighting and air ventilation systems and solar heating panels for geysers."

"Heat build-up on the roof will be significantly reduced by accessible roof gardens with spectacular 360o views." The Illovo area is one of the highest natural points in Johannesburg and views from the roof gardens include the Magaliesburg Mountains to the north.

Flexible and customised interior design

Key to the building design of both buildings was the notion of open plan workspaces but with each Illovo Edge owner being able to determine their own space and interior design features.

The Bentel Interior Design team, is responsible for the Interior Design and Space Planning of Building 2, which accommodates the architectural practice. The design direction took its lead from the 'studio' type environment, which is critical for the effective communication and teamwork required to complete successful building design.

Central to this, is the need to achieve line of sight for all staff and team members throughout the space, as visual connection to all departments is essential for an efficient design and workflow process. This was achieved by planning the entire office around a triangular, double-volume, open-plan studio, with boardrooms and executive offices flanking it along two of its sides.

This concept was further reinforced through the positioning of the coffee-stop and snack area, printing and photocopying areas, as well as the general communal work functions, at the centre of the open-plan section. This ensures that one-on-one communication, as well as group interaction, is maintained throughout the day.

All spaces within the office enjoy natural light and are visually connected to the landscaped boulevard between Buildings 1 and 2, and they enjoy connectivity to the public coffee shop within the Boulevard.

All interior finishes take their lead from the external architectural features - public areas with limestone-clad walls and floors are softened with American walnut timber cladding. The use of glass boardroom walls and stainless steel handrails are used to accentuate the pure forms of the building and to allow for further views through to the Boulevard and the rest of the Precinct.

© 2010 Lois Aitchison, FVS Marketing & PR

Illovo Edge - the professional team
Developers - Mont Blanc Projects & Properties (Pty) Ltd
Architects - Bentel Associates International
Project Managers - Profica Project Management Africa
Main contractor - Mont Blanc Projects
Quantity Surveyors - IBP Construction Consultants (Pty) Ltd
Town Planner - Raven Town Planners
Electrical Engineer - KKA
Mechanical Engineer - A Consult (Pty) Ltd
Wet Services Engineer - DSB Consulting Engineers
Fire Engineer - International Fire Engineers
Structural Engineer - Gerrard Consulting
Landscape Architect - Bentel Associates International
Interior Designers - Paragon Interiors (Building 1)
Interior Designers - Bentel Interior Design (Building 2)
Attorneys - Hooyberg Attorneys
Conveyancers - Yammin Hammond Inc.