24 April 2019

The nascent Fourth Industrial and information
revolution will affect South African architecture “quite markedly” and architecture is uniquely
placed to add value says South African architecture firm Co-Arc International Architects
director Patrick McInerney.

For example, the current uncertain business environment in South Africa “will push architects
to find new ways to harness the potential available in property development.”

Fitting into this vision of the future of architecture is the Sandton-based Leonardo
high-rise building, which will be South Africa’s tallest skyscraper, at 55
storeys, when it is completed.

McInerney says: “As a mixed use development, [The Leonardo] solves
issues relating to urban mobility and density, providing a destination for
capital both local and foreign, the global identity that Africa is seeking,” he adds,
noting that it has “become a beacon of hope” in showing the possibilities for
development despite the country’s economic challenges.

The principal contract for the R3-billion Leonardo was signed on October
25, 2015, with physical construction having started in
January 2016.

McInerney notes that the Leonardo also sets an example for how African
cities could attract local and foreign direct investment in property.

On the building itself, McInerney says
the Leonardo was built with the two-pronged focus of a rapid build and ensuring
it remained labour-intensive.

McInerney notes that the public colonnade and many public facilities
visible from the street makes the Leonardo “much more accessible to the public.
People will feel that they’re able to walk freely into the building, without being kept to the
perimeter pavement as they are in so many of the buildings in Sandton.”

The Leonardo comprises several major public levels areas off the street,
with retail and hotel lobbies linked by escalator to an interactive mixed use
lobby space, which serve the large conferencing venue and will be home to the
reception area for the apartments, penthouse suites and offices, along with a
coffee shop and bar.

There are 1 300 parking bays linked by shuttle lifts directly into
the seventh floor podium, which features landscaped gardens, restaurants, a
bar, a creche, a gym and a spa.

There are also 7 200 m2 of sectional title offices.

Two-hundred and thirty-four apartments will rise up to the 38th level,
with the next 10 floors earmarked for a luxury hotel to be established in the
future, depending on the demand and conditions in the hospitality sector.

Above the development floors are eight penthouses and the Leonardo
suite, reaching from the forty-ninth to fifty-fifth levels. The eight penthouse
suites will also have their own gardens.

The 3 200 m2 Leonardo suite will feature 1 900
m2 of under-roof living space and 1 300 m2 of
outdoor patios and gardens, with a 20 m lap pool and gym area.

Of the 234 standard luxury apartments, only 16 remain on the market.

The Leonardo is expected to be complete close to the middle of the year, but the exact opening date is being kept under wraps.

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