An existing knitting mill was adapted to become a commercial campus. Direct Axis occupies the anchor space and have set the benchmark for future conversions.
Due to the collapse of the textile industry there are instances in Cape Town whereby there are large factories that once housed textile houses which are no longer in use. Our client recognised this opportunity as the old textile factory had the vast open space that his Call Centre required.
The property is a city block of 49,000sq.m in Diep River. Geographically this is perfectly situated as it is within good proximity for their staff and it is served well by public transport.
The Call Centre took up 14,000sq.m of the old textile factory and this space was converted to suit their new highly technical requirements. Structurally this building was a challenge as it comprised an eggshell concrete barrel vaulted roof – so thin that one was not able to drill into it at all. Therefore the ceilings, services and lighting had to be designed in such a way that they came from the bottom. So a raised access floor was inserted by which the air-con and data was reticulated. 1500 Open-plan desks sit on top of this floor and is flexible enough to be reconfigured as their accounts and departments grow and change. This also helped to eliminate the need for a forest of power poles.
Because there are so many staff and it is a 24 hour operation facilities had to be provided on site so as to give access to food, exercise and rest areas. The basement of the building which used to be a mechanic workshop was turned into a canteen with a games area. The roof of the building which was not trafficable was turned into a soccer pitch. And the old office block was converted into a pilates and gym room.
An inefficient courtyard was planted and reconfigured to provide on-site parking and a pleasant green outlook. Facing on to this the facade of the existing building was demolished and rebuilt with a triple volume flush glazed facade. This brought light into the otherwise dark open-plan area. Blinds on a solar planetary timer ensure that glare is not a problem for their computers.
The key to the success of a call centre and the incorporation of all the services is the close working relationship with the team of consultants. With the help of the Mechanical, Electrical, Structural Engineers and Interior Designers, Peerutin Architects Cape Town ensured that the building not only functions technically but that it also provides an aesthetically pleasing working environment.