News and Trends

SA Architecture Now

Text Leigh Robertson, Graham Wood Photographs Supplied In the first of a two-part series, HL investigates SA’s most remarkable recent architecture and the people who designed it.

Paragon Architects (Henning Rasmuss and Anthony Orelowitz)

Henning Rasmuss and Anthony Orelowitz of Paragon Architects show just what is possible within the tight constraints of commercial architecture if you think progressively. The startling addition of 15 Alice Lane Towers (pictured) to the Sandton skyline or the curving concrete structure of the AFGRI building in Centurion, visible from the highway, are examples of a new wave of buildings that push the boundaries of commercial architecture. Paragon’s daring buildings often transform people’s perception of the enterprises that will inhabit them, and diversify the architectural landscape. ‘Buildings even have the power to change the culture within a business,’ they say. The tight cost constraints placed on commercial buildings has motivated Paragon to come up with innovative design solutions. At 15 Alice Lane Towers they devised a technique of installing a glass ‘skin’ that had never been used before, and their contribution to Cape Town Stadium, as partner company in the Stadium Architects Joint Venture, won the German Steel Construction Award 2010. ‘It’s about finding innovative ways to build so that we can still produce buildings we are proud of,’ they say. ‘By making something that is sculptural, beautiful and powerful, we can actually create more value for our clients.’ To read about the other 8 architects making waves in the design world, make sure you buy the September 2011 issue and turn to page 44!