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Nexus 1 Waterfall

Size: 6874 m² 

Location: 9 Karkloof Crescent, Jukskei View, Waterfall City, Midrand, Gauteng 

Situated in the economic hub of Midrand just ten minutes from the Gautrain station and across the road from Mall of Africa, the Nexus 1 building is another proud landmark within the 32 000 m² Nexus Waterfall mixed-use precinct. The premier commercial development includes a hotel, restaurants, and three P-Grade office buildings, all arranged around a central landscaped piazza and built on top of an impressive super basement. With sustainability at its core, Nexus 1 paves the way for urban architecture with a light touch… 

The brief 

LYT Architecture’s coherent architectural style was called upon to design the entire Nexus precinct, including two future buildings still to come. The strategic positioning of this flagship project, developed by Attacq, is transforming the landscape of Waterfall City. Following the successful completion of the Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City in 2021, the client’s brief to the architects for Nexus 1 was to create a commercial office building with a distinctive architectural style and a minimum of a 4-star GBCSA Green Star rating. 

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The design  

Fortunately, Nexus 1’s central core and the surrounding office space have access to natural lighting. This positive aspect was intentionally maximised to take advantage of its energy-saving benefits, with the added reward of promoting end-user well-being. Two fire escapes are located within the central core of the building, availing the entire perimeter for office space and allowing easy sub-divisibility for tenant suites. The entrance to the lobby can alternatively be accessed from the road or the central piazza. An entertainment terrace is located on the third floor and the rooftop level features a mechanical plant with a full photovoltaic solar system installation. Nexus 1’s surrounding landscaped central piazza is accessible from all buildings on the square and accommodates operative cyclist and pedestrian routes, linked to an integrated urban design framework connecting nearby residential and commercial precincts to the mall and Nexus Waterfall. 

The façade 

Three materials were utilised to create the glazed and solid façade: glass, precast concrete fins, and ventilated porcelain tiles in various shades of grey. This multi-faceted treatment responds to the orientation of each elevation, accentuating visual interest while remaining true to the uncluttered visual language found throughout Waterfall City. The composition is dominated by vertical elements which generate a visual impression of height. The colour palette complements the adjacent Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City, completed by the same architectural team in 2021.  

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The sustainability 

Nexus 1 was awarded a net-zero carbon rating (level one) for the building’s effective and efficient layout and design as well as its active systems. The 23O kWp solar power system produces enough green energy to equate the demand of the base building systems (i.e., the HVAC, common areas, lighting, lifts, and hot water), resulting in zero operational emissions. The building’s peak electrical demand is actively reduced by the use of photovoltaic systems while the office lighting design ensures the use of artificial lighting with minimal energy consumption. The energy use of 1.5 W per m² per 100 lx was set for the office lighting power densities. 

Gathering information is key to understanding and managing building systems, and assessing opportunities to save water. The Nexus 1 building treads lightly through the use of water-efficient fittings that limit occupant water usage to 0.56 litres daily per m². Sub-metering of major water consumption systems is also in place. A project-specific waste management plan was developed and implemented to minimise the contribution of waste going to landfills, reducing the environmental impact of the project. Furthermore, hybrid electric vehicle and cyclist facilities also encourage end-users to utilise environmentally-friendly routes when commuting to the precinct. 

The landscape 

The landscaping by Daniel Rebel Landscape Architects made use of a combination of hard- and softscapes. Appropriate street furniture was integrated into the overall design, providing a functional and pleasant outdoor space for end-users and pedestrians alike. Working in collaboration with LYT Architecture to create a welcoming entry, the team set out to draw attention to the Nexus 1 building by using an array of visitor paths as well as various landscaping heights.  

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LYT Architecture

@lytarchitecture 

www.lyt.co.za 

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