Alice Lane III is the final of three building complexes designed by Paragon Architects that surround and form a new 'green lung' and piazza in Sandton. Phase III, corner Alice Lane and 5th Street in Sandton, Johannesburg, comprises multi-tenanted office space and retail space at street level, with several cafes and restaurants.
Abland, the client, commissioned Pamboukian lightdesign to design the exterior lighting for Phase III. Planned on an H-like plan with the higher of the two towers, 18 stories on 5th Street, it occupies a key position on the Sandton skyline when viewed from afar and especially from the not too far off lower lying William Nicol Drive, a busy arterial road. The inner lying tower is 16 stories high. This slender feature the clients wanted emphasised. They also wanted the viewer’s attention bought to the two types of external glazing employed.
The fritted glass for sun control is washed by horizontal LED strips supported on brackets fitted between the glass panes. The other glass panels are clear vision elements both designed to balance light control. Linear graphic LED strips mark the joints between the two. Owing to the gentle geometrical angling of the surfaces, at night the lines communicate the sculptural quality of the carved block-like towers and send signals into the night sky. The surface wash was omitted for reasons of budget and complexity of installation.
The two towers are linked by an 18 storey entrance atrium. Over a cup of coffee with the architect, Paul Pamboukian sketched a lighting concept for the atrium which was executed by others. The floating but stacked horizontal sails of soft light and the irregular coves convey an atmosphere of ease and comfort, especially against the undisturbed sky.
The piazza, which extends under the buildings, is not flood-lit but given a feel of light filtering through trees. It complements the shadows of the trees by day. Nine metre high custom-made poles give the necessary throw required to achieve the mottled gobo-effect.
Alice Lane Piazza serves corporate staff primarily, but it is destined to generate night life with its inviting atmosphere and beautiful evening views to the hills in the south. There is no doubt that it will become a favourite spot in Sandton.