The multimillion-rand City of Johannesburg’s Council Chamber – the city’s newest landmark – is a gift that keeps on giving.
The 38m tall calabash-shaped circular glass building has been winning awards even before it opened its doors in time for Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba’s maiden State of the City Address on May 3.
The state-of-the-art chamber, situated in the Metro Centre in Braamfontein, has recently been showered with two prestigious awards – at home and abroad.
Early in June it was recognised by the International Property Awards for the Africa and Arab Region. The honour will be officially bestowed on it at the region’s awards-giving ceremony in Dubai on September 7.
Also in June, the iconic building scooped the prestigious innovation award at the South African Property Owners Association’s Innovative Excellence in Property Development Convention.
This was no mean feat considering the green building, developed by the Johannesburg Property Council (JPC), was up against strong competition such as the Destiny Conference Centre in Kempton Park, Isivivana Centre in Cape Town, Menlyn Learning Hub in Pretoria and the Waterfall Public Transport Facility in Midrand, Johannesburg.
“June has truly been a momentous month for the JPC to be awarded prizes both nationally and internationally for the council chamber,” said Helen Botes, Chief Executive Officer of the JPC, which manages the City’s multi-billion property portfolio, of which the chamber is part.
The accolades are a fitting tribute for the chamber, which embodies the fundamental principles of democracy, transparency and accountability. Last year, the Green Building Council of SA gave the chamber a five-star rating, the first to be awarded to a municipality building in the country.
On top of the calabash sits an 11m gold light tower that reflects the history of the City of Gold. Tons of glass, recycled steel and concrete all have a pride of place in this building.
Its bespoke elements include totem artefacts which dot the chamber to crown its uniqueness. The chamber has 80 seats more than is currently required to cater for future expansion. More than 500 jobs were created during its construction phase.