OFFICES FOR NUMSA
129 Che Guevara road, Durban (2011)
An existing, Italianate style, 2 storey building on the corner of Che Guevara (formerly Moore) and Umbilo roads was acquired by WIP Investments, the property owning arm of NUMSA (National Union of Metal Workers SA). The brief was to convert the building to administrative headquarters for the union to accommodate both the Regional and Local chapters as well as meeting rooms for general members. The location on the western edge of the CBD and within a precinct of strong mixed use (light industrial-fringe commercial/retail) meant the inclusion/retention of ground floor retail premises along the Umbilo road edge.
The proposal emphasizes PLED principles of natural light and ventilation - the inner courtyard as a 'breathing' space for the offices and 'light tubes' bring natural light into the deep office floors. Verandahs on the road frontages (over the pavement colonnade below) are 'mesh'- enclosed to exclude feral pigeons and planting boxes with creepers grow on the mesh screens - rainwater is locally harvested to facilitate this - to improve air quality and reduce noise from the busy streets below.