Joburg Council Chamber’s innovative design receives recognition

18 August 2017

The City of Johannesburg’s (CoJ’s) Council Chamber, which is managed by the CoJ’s property portfolio company, Joburg Property Company (JPC), has been awarded the Public Services Development award by the Africa & Arabia Property Awards.

The JPC will officially receive the award in Dubai in September. The project was completed in March 2016.

The Africa & Arabia Property Awards are judged by an independent panel of 70 industry experts. Judging focuses on design, quality, service, innovation, originality and commitment to sustainability.

The chamber also received a 5-Star Green rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa last year and an award in the Other Developments category at the SAPOA Innovative Excellence in Property Development Awards, held in Cape Town last month.

The Council Chamber has been designed to provide seating capacity for 361 councillors and 158 seats in the gallery for the public and media – 80 seats more than required, to cater for future expansion.

The form of the chamber is that of a traditional drum, which was inspired by the Tswana word lekgotla, which follows the African tradition of allowing anyone to talk without interruption.

The drum has been used for centuries to call those from surrounding areas to come together for social gatherings or for important meetings.

The chamber is a cylindrical structure enveloped entirely by a glass façade with vertical glass fins covering the curved outer layer of the building. The glass building envelope enables an uninterrupted visual link between the indoor and surrounding outdoor spaces, enabling the outside world to have a visual connection with the building’s occupants, which is symbolic of a constant dialogue between the public and municipal officials. 

Architect for the project, studioMAS, wanted to celebrate African principles of space making while incorporating smart technologies and green building systems.

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