Building the future from the remnants of the past | WWF South Africa

Building the future from the remnants of the past



Posted on 06 August 2014
Building rubble being reused as floor filling.
© WWF South Africa
The team working on WWF's green build in Braamfontein is going to extraordinary lengths to meet the very stringent requirements for a 6-star rating from the Green Building Council SA. The oft-repeated environmentally-conscious mantra of 'Reduce Reuse Recycle' has never been more apt, with every effort being made to design intelligently for optimal sustainability, salvage and reuse materials that are still sound, and to dispose of any unusable materials in a responsible way.

From the brickwork, timber and rubble to the metal pipework, every element has been considered. The original building was taken down brick by brick to retain as much as possible.

Simon Cretney of Alive Architecture sums it up, "We salvaged all the bricks, all the wood including the timber from the roof, and all the timber that was used from the ground to the first floor. We are talking huge beams here – 400 mm deep, 120 mm wide, 6.7 m long. Lovely Yellowwood stuff. We also salvaged all the floorboards, the pressed steel ceilings and the corrugated metal on the roof.”

If the refurbishment is awarded 6-star status, it will be the first of its kind in South Africa. The Green Building Council defines such a status as 'world leadership' in sustainability. The objectives of Green Star SA tools are to establish a common language and standard of measurement for green buildings, promote integrated, whole-building design, raise awareness of the benefits of green building, recognise environmental leadership and reduce the environmental impact of development.


Building rubble being reused as floor filling.
© WWF South Africa Enlarge
Materials like these pipes that couldn't be reused were carefully collected and recycled.
© WWF South Africa Enlarge
Old wooden planks being reworked for reuse.
© WWF South Africa Enlarge