About This Project

Client : Dorma South Africa

Type : Hybrid Commerical, Industrial

Site : Kaya Sands, Johannesburg

Size : 3000 square meters (foot print)

Partners : Afriplan

Dorma South Africa’s brief called for new national headquarters due to rapid growth of the company in recent years. Specifically this required the amalgamation of the full complement of operations in one facility. These included administration, warehousing and assembly, showroom, distribution and service division. The new scheme had to be accommodated on a 7 683m2 site in the Kaya Sands Business Park, an industrial estate located off Malibongwe Drive on the northern outskirts of Johannesburg.

Conceptually, the design response had four intertwined aspects:

Site Specific conditions: Site gradients had a significant influence on the initial planning and sectional arrangements as a result of specific requirements of the warehouse programme. In addition, it was important to capitalize on any distant views of the mid rand area, edit some of the immediate industrial views and optimize solar orientation.

Spatial organization: The scheme employs a massive spine wall, running in an east west direction, as organizing device which arranges the front of house / public / clean component and the back of house / semi-public / dirty component. The former contains the showroom and offices and is located on the south east corner of the site; the latter comprises the much larger warehouse, assembly, service and distribution operations located on the north west part of the site.

Formal language: The scheme attempts to address the architectural problem of subtlely incorporating a corporate identity whilst also considering the necessary articulation required to capture views, provide shading, allow natural light into the building, and to accommodate any pragmatic requirements. Specifically, this is demonstrated in the monochromatic colour palette, roof articulation, window arrangements and setbacks.

Embedded showroom: Considering the nature of the product supplied by the Client – architectural hardware – and its prevalence in the building industry, (comma) it was proposed for the building as a whole to become a tactile or ‘living’ showroom with products embedded throughout to demonstrate typical applications. Particular emphasis was placed on the new range of frameless glass products which was manifested extensively in the internal partitions, walls and doors. The characteristic ability of these products to recede were in turn exploited to optimise visual transparency and legibility in the public spaces and maximise natural light in the open plan




June 2009

Architecture, Commercial, Interior Architecture