FEELING GOOD IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

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A number of buildings that entered this year’s BREEAM award for new offices, all had one thing in common: energy efficiency. The environmental and economical performance of all of the buildings that were shortlisted like, The EdgeNodaTorsplan development, Greendale, and The White Collar Factory,  is outstanding. Between all of these buildings, The Edge scored the highest on the BREEAM assessment with a score of 98.36%. However, one thing made The Edge the winning building, and that is its ability to achieve well-being.

“Out of the trinity of people, planet, and profit, the people aspects are becoming more and more important as a differentiator between sustainable buildings as most developers now master the planet and profit aspects very well. […]

The most outstanding feature of the building is the way it interacts with its inhabitants and the way it defines and achieves comfort. The comfort system not only optimizes temperature, but also light, radiation, and air flow internally.”

CO2 levels in a room are directly related to the alertness and productivity of people, therefore, these levels are adjusted. People are guided to workspaces that are best suited the work they have to do that day, and also to their personal preferences like a window seat, or the temperature within open plan office. The major shift that is being seen in office design is from building efficiency to people comfort since companies are realising that comfortable people are happy people, and happy people are more productive.

While we are seeing these shifts in office design, we have experienced similar sentiments from our guests, they all say they feel productive at Stand 47 because of its comfortable spaces. We think designing for well-being, is key in designing a happy home too.

Read more on: https://portal.luxresearchinc.com/research/tidbit/21464?utm_campaign=journal&utm_source=journal&utm_medium=email

A Case Study home for South Africa

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All photos courtesy of Derick De Bruyn

Recently we invited architect and academic Derick De Bruyn to spend a relaxing weekend at Stand 47 with his son. For two years now, he has used the house as an example of light steel construction in his second year architecture studio at the University of Pretoria. We wanted to know what influence the house has had in his design and construction teaching curriculum and why he finds it useful.

He told us that it was particularly useful to visit the house to see how external dry-walling would perform in the harsh Highveld environment, particularly when for so many years there has been a perception in the building industry that it is not possible to build successfully in this manner. Contrary to what he had experienced before, the external walls have not cracked at all under the extreme temperature changes. He believes that these high quality systems will start to be adopted by more and more people as they understand that the lightweight materials used in Stand 47 perform as well as those in traditional homes do and can feel just as [or more] comfortable.

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From a teaching perspective Derick finds the house valuable for two reasons. First, it is a true Case Study home – testing and then proving that a home can be built in South Africa using these alternative materials and systems in a more sophisticated way than we have been taught to think or even have seen so far. Second, it provides a real life example for students (and the interested public) to visit and learn from or experience first hand.

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There are certain design benefits to these systems which he also appreciates such as the modular design system which makes building more accurate and can allow for innovative detailing. He also says that the technologies performed really well on a hot day, with the home remaining a comfortable temperature at night due to the innovative dual drywall system of internal and external walls.

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The spatial comforts of the home did not go unnoticed… he appreciates the atmosphere and ambiance of the house sited in the grasslands of Monaghan Farm with the lane of trees in the background and the views toward the eastern horizon. He also appreciates the spatial qualities of the home within the living areas where for example the reflections from the swimming pool cast onto the ceiling inside in the morning create a delightful atmosphere inside.

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In summary, he found the house to live up to the desired comforts of a high quality home with the added benefits of almost entire self sufficiency (solar energy is captured by PV panels and rainwater is harvested) along with high performance building systems. Derick thinks that as more of his students become familiar with these systems and more members of the public experience the comforts of this home themselves, then more such homes will be built. And as this happens, he is very excited to see how the building systems will be interpreted into architectural design solutions that push the limits of the technology even further.

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DESIGNING FOR THE EDGE

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Resource depletion and waste generation are two of the most important problems facing current and future generations. There is a global need to change the way homes are built and occupied. Stand 47 demonstrates some of the opportunities available to people who choose to build sustainably.

Grahame Cruickshanks

Grahame is the executive director of the EDGE rating tool for residential projects in the Green Building Council of South Africa. On a recent visit to Stand 47 he provided us with detailed feedback on the green technologies and overall strategies used, some of which follows below:

Stand 47 demonstrates that good basic design principles are the first step in creating a successful sustainable building, even before technology is added. For example, Stand 47 has been perfectly sited providing the best orientation to the sun – sinking the house onto a terrace which screens the house from the West Sun is extremely effective. The layout is economical, liveable and comfortable – a difficult combination to achieve. Technologically, the building envelope systems are innovative for South African residential construction.

The light steel frame construction system did not affect my experience of comfort in the house in any way. Initially the home appeared modest in scale and aesthetics when approached from the road. The glazed front door works well as an entrance which draws one into the home. Once inside, the interior appeared conventional with the exception of the high, sloped ceiling and clerestory windows, creating a surprisingly generous and pleasantly proportioned space.

I visited Stand 47 on a day with extremely high temperatures (30 degC plus), and the interior was warm and remained slightly warmer than the exterior into the early evening. However, when compared with a traditional brick home with double brick exterior walls and single brick interior walls I would say that I could feel minimal, if any, difference in the interior temperatures.

 

This house provides an innovative option of building in a sustainable way because the flexibility of the non-service core layout allows the house to be adapted to different spatial needs more easily than brick and mortar. This is a significant sustainability attribute given the waste generated and resources consumed in conventional building renovations. The energy and water technologies used on the house have the potential to dramatically reduce resource consumption if used correctly. 

 

 

 

Light Steel construction at Monaghan Farm

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Last year, Sean Pearce of MDS architects was a Rest Pilot in our #RestTest. His interest in Light Steel construction has been an ongoing design fascination, so much so that he is now designing is own home at Monaghan Farm using a light steel frame and Saint-Gobain dry-walling.

It seems that his experience at Stand 47 last year was a huge motivation in the design and construction of his own insulated, energy efficient and ultimately responsible home. This was made easy by the benefits of using light steel frames, namely their speed of installation and their insular performance.

While there are other products in the market that can be used with light steel frames, Pearce elected to use Saint-Gobain products and technologies because the company have an excellent track record in the industry and are committed to green technologies. For Pearce, their focus on finding green solutions to construction problems ultimately overlaps with his own goals. He is using Gyproc ceilings and Gyproc Rhinolite, as well as Saint Gobain’s ETICS walling system.

We asked him if he thinks that more architects and home owners are going to adopt this way of building their dream homes and he said yes… “people’s mindsets are changing and are becoming more ‘green’ conscious. More efficient homes equate to more economically friendly benefits long term. People are also having to react to both the electricity and water crises in our country by looking at green alternatives. Lightweight walling is a step in the right direction”. We could not agree more.

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RELAXED. CONTENT. INSPIRED.

Portrait

 

Our first guest to visit Stand 47 in 2016 was Thomas Chapman, founder and principal of the Architecture firm, Local Studio. He holds Masters Degrees in architecture and urban design and worked as a oral history and civic engagement researcher before going into professional practice. Since forming Local Studio in 2012, he has directed his efforts at inventing new directions for African architecture and urbanism through innovations in community participation, public space design and alternative construction methodologies.

Following a weekend at Stand 47, Thomas says that although he is already a convert to alternative walling systems like those used in Stand 47, he found that the Saint-Gobain drywall technology works very well in this type of house.

When asked about his impressions about the home, he said that the approach to the house is quite unassuming, adding that the buildings are incredibly well sited so as to make one feel completely secluded. The well-considered decor within the open and uninterrupted main living volume made an immediate first impression, followed by the simple use of slender steel to support the stoep and small T-sections to create the screens –  these elements add to the striking northern elevation discovered when standing in the garden. His favourite detail by far was the beautifully finished parquet flooring.

He says that the house is quiet and lends itself to promoting an overall sense of comfort. He added that he felt a sense of well-being that included feeling very relaxed, content and inspired within the house. His final verdict? He would feel absolutely comfortable living in a house like this, and would definitely consider designing (more) buildings with these materials.

“The choice of materials has successfully produced a comfortable, peaceful, and aspirational home.”

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We are happy to share our 10th Rest Pilot’s experience of Stand 47. Over the past weekend, Lerato Khumalo studied the house with a discerning eye, given her expertise in the building industry…

Lerato works at the NHBRC (National Home Builders Registration Council) as a Structural Engineer within the organisation’s Centre for Research and Housing Innovation. She is responsible for Research, Technical assessment and Laboratory testing of construction products, systems and materials. She has a passion for innovation and technology, but also enjoys a good book….and the occasional episode of ‘The Fixer’ when she’s not outdoors jogging around the neighbourhood.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Lerato: The “Scandinavian” feel of the interior design and decor caught my eye, complementing the “light”, airy and cool feel of the house. I was very impressed by my experience in its interior spaces and the internal temperature felt ‘just right’. The overall layout and design of the house is modern and comfortable, and beautifully decorated. The fact that it is set in the most perfect landscape – no high walls and electric fences – adds to the feelings of comfort and relaxation.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Lerato: As expected.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Lerato: At 10PM, it was a cool 10 degrees outside with the internal temperature around 25 degrees. The home’s airy design allows one to enjoy simple pleasures such as watching lightning zigzag across a colour-filled sky at sunset, while lying on the couch. The choice of materials, (in their specific combination(s)), has successfully produced a comfortable, peaceful, aspirational home. All said and done, this is a lovely house that anybody would be more than happy to make their home.

Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Lerato: I slept very well and found the home to be surprisingly quieter than a traditional house during the day and night. This experience has positively influenced my perception of houses built using these technologies. Overall, the home is aesthetically pleasing with a great, flexible design. It is set within the peaceful backdrop of Monaghan Farm, which successfully makes the case for a sustainable living concept.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Lerato: I enjoyed the open living rooms and bedrooms opening up into the garden. The whole house interacts. It’s fantastic that the house is not built entirely out of brick and mortar…and of course, the house is in an awesome location.

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live here?

Lerato: Definitely! I believe I’d be productive and happy living in a home like this.

“Great design and aesthetic…”

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Ken Wai was our 9th Rest Pilot to experience Stand 47 as part of our #RestTest experience.

We recently opened Stand47 up to Ken, founder of Roden Gray, a leading menswear ‘market space’, offering a forward-thinking perspective on the rapidly evolving world of men’s fashion. He is Canadian and finds himself in South Africa on a 3 week trip to scope out its retail scene. His eye for quality design and his extensive (and probably tiring) trip, made him a good candidate for our #RestTest R&R experience.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Ken: The clean modern styling in the house stands out and I was impressed by the exterior and interior of the home. It appears comfortable and a place I would be happy to live in or rent as a vacation home.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Ken: Nice… above expectation.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Ken: At 11PM, it was a cool 10 degrees outside and the internal temperature was around 25 degrees. The house keeps its comfortable temperature really well within cool and moderate temperatures, but in extreme temperatures with the windows open, the outdoor heat starts to be felt after a while. Even so, I was very comfortable in this home and would want to live here.

Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Ken: I slept as expected and found the home to be nice and quiet overnight. I definitely woke up feeling that I could be productive and happy living in a home without bricks, like Stand 47.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Ken: The great design and aesthetic – the ample natural light and the high ceilings giving a greater sense of spaciousness

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live here?

Ken: Definitely.

“I felt comfortable day and night”

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Our 8th Rest Pilot to experience Stand 47’s #RestTest was marketing manager of Century Property Developments, Geoffry Crow. 

Geoffry is the brand and marketing manager of Century Property and comes from a successful entrepreneurial background. He has made great strides in marketing and selling the Waterfall Estate development in Northern Johannesburg. He is an avid outdoor sports enthusiast and self-confessed classic car collector who is also currently building his own home.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Geoffry: From outside the house seems modest, so I was impressed by the rich detail in the interior…the expansive living room volume with the extensive parquet floor and high ceilings. The home immediately appeared comfortable to me.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Geoffry: Nice… above expectation.

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Geoffry: At 8PM, it was 10 degrees outside and the internal temperature was a comfortable 17 degrees. I didn’t notice a big difference in temperature which means that I was comfortable all round.

Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Geoffry: I slept much better than expected as the house was extremely quiet. Now that I have experienced a luxury home built without bricks for the first time, my perceptions of homes like Stand 47 have changed.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Geoffry: I liked the large open plan feel and how it maximises the features of its location…the quiet countryside, the views, fresh air and natural light. Perhaps I could be productive here – if I could overcome the feeling of rest and relaxation! I felt comfortable day and night.

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live here?

Geoffry: Yes.

“Spacious, trendy and flexible!”

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The 7th Rest Pilot to test run the R&R experience at Stand 47 was Cecilia du Plessis. #RestTest experience.

Cecilia heads up and manages ‘special projects’ at VISI magazine. She is used to seeing beautiful homes and spaces, but how did she experience a night at Stand 47? We wanted to know whether the house not only demonstrated a quality product, but also whether it inspired and delighted its user to rest and relaxation.

Stand 47 : What was your first impression of the house and did anything specific catch your attention?

Cecilia: Stand 47 is fairly unassuming from the exterior, but as you enter it reveals more detail. So while my first impression of the house was impressive, I was even more impressed by the interior spaces and their qualities. The first thing that caught my attention is the generous volume inside the home complemented by the well chosen designer furniture. It’s spacious, trendy and flexible.

Stand 47 : How does the real thing compare with your expectations?

Cecilia: Wow…significantly above expectation!

Stand 47 : Tell us about a night at Stand 47. Give us details!

Cecilia: At 11PM, it was a chilly 10 degrees outside and the temperature inside felt just right at 23 degrees. Given that the house was unoccupied, a lot of residual warmth was locked up inside it during a very warm day and took several hours with windows and doors open to cool, but I was still very comfortable all round…I’d say an 8 out of 10.

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Stand 47 : What is your opinion of the home next morning?

Cecilia: I slept as expected in this home and woke up refreshed. This home has positively changed my perception of what it feels like to be in a home built without bricks and I definitely feel that I could be productive living in a house like this one. I enjoy the spacious feeling, the high ceilings and its sense of lightness.

Stand 47: Could you describe your favourite aspect of the home?

Cecilia: I love the layout of the house, particularly the spacious living spaces that do not compromise on the quality of the private spaces. The house feels like it has a small footprint (a good thing in these times), and yet it also offers great outdoor spaces and the constant feeling of spaciousness. I can see multiple incarnations for use and layout in this house, which makes me want to live here even more!

Stand 47: And finally, we have to know, would you live here?

Cecilia: Hell yes – I could so live here!

Better homes equal better thinking

Think about it..

Do you feel and think better in a cramped, dark, dusty, noisy or extremely hot or cold space? Or do you thrive in more relaxed environments – light and airy, spacious and calm, with the temperature being just right?

Researchers are finding that improved indoor environmental quality greatly increases (in fact doubles) the cognitive function of its users. That simply means that buildings like Stand 47 which have been designed to include green building principles and materials (and natural ventilation and lighting), offer its users a better space in which to think, feel and be.

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The results of the COGfx Study on operational testing, showed the great impact of green buildings on cognitive functions such as:

– Better thinking

– Optimized environment for productivity (ventilation, CO2, VOC)

– Especially, CO2 ‘*(carbon dioxide) emissions also impact our cognitive functions!

These results are particularly useful in motivating for better office and working environments. If home is your workspace, or your sanctuary of creative pursuits, these qualities are equally important. Imagine the potential of a home that makes you think better…

Learn more on the Cogfx Study website with complete tests results and infographic: http://thecogfxstudy.naturalleader.com/cognitive-function-test-scores-doubled/