What is Commercial Architecture

1. Commercial architecture is the practice of designing buildings which are specifically suited to a commercial / business environment. These are buildings which are designed with operational and aesthetic considerations for the intended use of the building such as an office tower, a school, a hospital or a warehouse. Commercial architecture is one of the building blocks which constitute the CBD of a city and often forms an internationally recognizable skyline.

Here at Bentel Associates International (BAI) our architectural team is supported by a talented interior team known as B.I.G (Bentel Interiors and Graphics) who design the interior of these buildings. Our interior team designs unique and creative solutions which influence how the end users will integrate with the building and its function.

We also have a store planning division which assists clients in achieving their objectives with the design and fit out of the internal space of their store. Key considerations when undertaking such a project is a sound understanding of operations of the store, key functions, customer flows and shopping habits as well as brand focus.

The Future of Commercial Architecture

1. Technology is a driving force behind so many of the new initiatives and developments we see in the world around us today and it is no different for the realm of architecture. Over the last decade there has been a heightened awareness of building efficiencies, the manner in which buildings are integrated into the environment as well as the use of sustainable materials and products. Buildings are being designed with top end technology and as architects refine their skill in collaboration with specialist consultants we will find an immense improvement in the operational efficiencies and cost of commercial buildings.

In South Africa where load shedding has quickly become a norm and where water outages are more frequently experienced in rural areas, designs must include for energy and water efficiencies to allow the continuation of business during the interruption of services.

The rapid advancement of 3D virtual design will enable the architect and engineer to push the boundaries of design. This exciting development will allow the client to engage virtually within the designed space, gaining an intimate sense for the scale and design prior to construction.
This advanced technology will be beneficial to the professional team allowing more complicated designs to be resolved in a more holistic approach.

1. Bentel Associates International has excellent experience in having completed several office buildings in three of the major cities in South Africa.

Illovo Edge Phase 3

Phase 3 of the Illovo Edge Office Park comprised of a 5000sqm office building that caters to a flexible format suitable to multi-tenant use of varying spaces between 200sqm to 1000sqm. At the forefront in design was that of a sustainable approach which included design solutions for rainwater harvesting, waste recycling facilities and energy efficient lighting and HVAC specifications. We are proud in this office building’s Green Star Rating as awarded by the Green Building Council of South Africa. This building offers exceptional views of the city scape from the various balconies.

FNB Acacia House

This grand 16 000sqm office building located in Umhlanga Kwa Zulu Natal was designed for the Eris Property Group and came to completion in November 2014. This office building is highly flexible in its design and allows for adaption accordingly to current requirements and organizational structure variations. Typical of office buildings, spaces within this traditional structure include reception areas, open plan office spaces, cellular offices, meeting rooms etc. Unique to this building is the provision of the staff dining area which can be adjusted to service private dining functions as well. The exterior of the exterior of the building is of a formal structure with large glazed panels. This building also boasts beautiful panoramic views of the marina.
BAI was appointed to design the interior of this building which took on the corporate colours of the FNB brand. A playful twist was incorporated into the dining areas while the office environment remained professional in its approach.

Cell C Head Office

Located in Midrand Jhb, alongside the N1 motorway to Pretoria, this office park enjoys excellent visibility. The design of the office park was largely influenced by the adjacent natural wetland which can be seen in the three main landscaped courtyards which form the spine of the buildings. This building was designed and completed for Atterbury.
BAI enjoyed the opportunity of taking on the responsibility for the interior design of this office space. The matt grey field colour allowed for a colour palette to take the lead from the company logo sporting bright spunky colours through the less formal pause and reception areas. Conference and meeting rooms as well as the office spaces remained on the side of the neutral greys allowing for the sense of a professional environment that lends itself well to meeting future needs.

Pick n Pay Head Office

This office park designed for the Pick n Pay Group and Abland Property Group comprises of 20 879sqm and is located in Kenilworth Cape Town. This office park is comprised of four independent buildings with a landscaped street scape providing common circulation between the buildings. Each building is constructed around its own internal courtyard, but the buildings vary between two to three storeys in height. A common basement below services all four buildings.

Pick n Pay On Nicol

BAI recently completed the refurbishment of Pick n Pay in Nicol as well as the internal restaurant Thyme On Nicol. BAI worked with an international design company to transform the interior supermarket into a light and contemporary environment. The new look encompasses a light colour palette, extended views within the supermarket leading to the exterior and industry leading designs such as the glazed coldroom to the butchery.
Thyme On Nicol has undergone a transformation which allows for a more efficient use of the space during inclement weather while not losing connectivity with the outdoors. The design is elegant and stylish with finishes of wood, stone and handmade tiles. The restaurant offers a combination of varied bespoke seating arrangements which makes the restaurant popular for informal business meetings, breakfast and lunch gatherings as well as caters to individuals working for short periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions on Commercial Architecture

1. What is the yield of a project?

Vital in determining the feasibility of the project is the calculation of the yield. The yield would be the calculation of the rental income of a project over the course of a year as a percentage of how much the property cost.

2. How are architectural fees calculated?

Architectural fees can be determined by a time based fee or a project based fee. Both of these are clearly defined as gazetted by the South African Council for the Architectural Profession.

3. What services does an architect provide as part of their fees?

The services provided are intimately linked with the work stages of an architectural project. Services would begin with taking and interpreting a client’s brief, developing and finalizing a concept design for approval by the client. Upon approval the architect in collaboration with a broader team of professionals will develop the concept design into technical documentation suitable for submission to local authorities for approval as well as for tender and construction. Construction documentation would include the specification of materials and products. The architect would attend site meetings and carry out site inspections to ensure quality and adherences to specifications. The architect often acts as the principal consultant co-ordinating and directing the collaborative process of the design consultants.

4. When consulting an interior designer how do I know my preference in design will be correctly understood?

To ensure the concept is based upon the clients preferences the designer will compile a mood board which we term as the pre concept phase. This mood board will comprise of numerous examples indicating the direction the designer intends to follow and will be indicative colour, materials, furniture, lighting etc.

5. What programmes do architects work on?

For many years Autocad has been the leading programme on which architects work. However more recently technology has developed and REVIT is now the preferred programme to work in. The 3D nature of REVIT allows for a more interactive process with both the client and the professional team.

6. How early in a project should an architect be involved?

An architect understands the big picture of a project and assists from the inception of a project providing design leadership and guidance as well as working through and resolving all regulatory codes. An architect should be brought on board as early as possible as the architect plays an important role in establishing pre design requirements relating to site specific conditions and regulations. An architect may assist in providing an experienced eye on the options available. An architect is also vital in compiling sufficient early design information in order to establish budgets and prepare brochures with which to take the new project to market.