Loop Street development sets precedent for building technology

Posted On Wednesday, 05 December 2007 02:00 Published by
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Known as Ytong blocks internationally this innovative product has been used successfully worldwide for over 80 years.

Construction IndustryAlthough new to South Africa, Ytong blocks made additional floors added to an existing 71 Loop Street structure not only possible but set a new building precedent. A combination of locally manufactured lightweight panels and imported Ytong blocks were used to reduce weight, add thermal insulation, and avoid costly scaffolding.

We needed a light material that was easy to work with on top of the existing Loop Street building,” said Petra Wiese from PWS property solutions when asked why she felt it was necessary to ship this material in, at twice the actual cost, for this project.

“Using Ytong blocks dramatically sped up the building process, as the blocks are light, create less mess, are non-toxic and offer a 100 percent finish. Each 400 x 600mm block is 25% of the weight of standard bricks and mortar and has an even higher load bearing capacity” added Wiese.

“As well as being incredibly easy to work with, it is an excellent acoustic barrier. The air bubbles that stop sound from traveling through it, also act as insulators, giving Ytong blocks 6-10 times better thermal insulation than normal bricks and concrete.  Similarly this provides twice the fire protection of normal concrete. It is impervious to rot or pest infestation, has excellent workability and, as if that is not enough, is earthquake and hurricane resistant,” explained Chris Hayman of ETC who also project managed the refurbishment and additions to the building.

The developer Morngleam Investments first upgraded and renovated all existing levels and then added on six additional units: two simplexes and four duplexes to the top of the existing structure. 

“Although town living is convenient and vibrant there are a number of problems that come with inner city living. We took all these into consideration at the design phase. For a start, one usually looses all sense of outdoor living, which is a significant inhibition of lifestyle. The city is also noisy, and the higher one goes, the noisier it gets, so penthouse dwellers usually suffer from noise pollution. Privacy, effective use of space, and access are also issues which come into play when designing a building in the city,” says Wiese.

According to Wiese, using Ytong blocks gave them the freedom to create the most user friendly space possible facilitating a seamless flow of indoor – outdoor living. Firstly all new apartments have a super large balcony as well as a deck, offering mountain, city and harbour views from all units. 

Having both a balcony and a deck is a first for city apartments which often have severe space restraints.  Ceilings of all new units are three metres high on both the first and second floor; all windows are double glazed to save energy, cut out noise pollution and provide more insulation.  All windows are imported, UV resistant and European style opening to the inside to cope with the Cape wind and the sliding doors also tilt to allow for added ventilation. All units have a combination of under floor heating and air-conditioning and has it’s own solar heating system.

“South Africa is finally becoming more energy conscious,” says Wiese. “Buildings must be properly insulated so that heating and air conditioning are not used unnecessarily. This is effectively building towards a healthy environment.”

 Both simplexes and one duplex have been sold already. Three duplexes between 100 – 150 sqm are available ranging from R2,6 to R3,75 million. The building boasts 24-hour security, wireless broadband connectivity and the promise of an eco friendly and comfortable lifestyle in the heart of the City. 

The development is due for completion in March 2008.


Last modified on Monday, 14 October 2013 22:14

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