Sustainable Design

Co-Arc International is strongly focussed on environmental best practices, and translates these concerns into architectural solutions aimed at energy-conservation, protection of resources and sustainable solutions in the physical, natural, social and economic environments. The practice subscribes to the UN Agenda 21 principles for sustainable human settlement development, and has taken a lead in finding appropriate solutions in this context for South Africa long before the establishment of a Green Building Council in the country in 2008.

At an urban design level, the firm has been involved in cutting-edge interventions. as an example, in association with Aziz Tayob architect the firm has authored the Integrated Urban Design Framework for Marabastad, Pretoria. This project, a developmental urban design project aimed at uplifting the badly scarred mixed-race suburb of Marabastad in the Pretoria Inner City, has earned a project award, with the citation describing it as an outstanding product, having all the qualities which distinguish an award-winning project, and as a study that is in many ways a seminal work in healing this country’s cities. The project was a finalist in the year 2000 Nedbank / Mail & Guardian Green Trust Awards, and has been listed on the UNCHS best practices database.

In the design of individual buildings, energy-efficient solutions date back to projects done over twenty years ago. More recently The Mpumlanga Provincial Government Complex demonstrates this commitment to sustainability in the manner in which the project deals with a variety of concerns in an integrated manner:

Optimum passive solar control to lower energy demand

Decentralised, environmentally friendly, low-energy air conditioning with options of natural ventilation.

Close integration of natural landscape with the building.

Implementation and monitoring of a full environmental management plan during construction activities.

Full conservation of the virgin nature on site and use of indigenous flora in landscape architecture.

Optimum use of renewable resources (such as cultivated timbers).

Use of waste material (quarrying rubble recycled for walling).

High levels of economic prudence, with optimum value for money in both capital expenditure and lifecycle costing.

Consideration of the socio-economic potential and impact of he project, for instance through high levels of empowerment   initiatives linked to the project including rural community workshops, women empowerment, skills transfer,labour-intensive installations and monitored equity participation by formerly disadvantaged individuals.