WSP, one of the largest multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies in Africa, was recently honoured at the Gauteng Institute for Architecture (GIfA) Awards. The company was part of the professional team that won both the Public Choice Award and Special Commendation Award for their work on the Aquatic Centre of the American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ).
WSP Africa was appointed as the civil, structural and wet services engineers of the aquatic centre, the dining commons, the fine arts building, and the amphitheatre. Additionally, the company was also integrally involved in the project management and design for the entire campus storm water management system.
According to Miguel Tavares, Regional Director for WSP Africa, Structures, “The Aquatic Centre was purposely designed to be an all-weather facility – one that provided sufficient shelter to protect the facility and swimming activities from all weather conditions and other environmental elements, however, while still maintaining a sense of being outdoors. Therefore, all the innovative designs and fabrication approach utilised on this project was aimed at achieving a continuous smooth flowing structure; similarly to that of the smooth surface of the water in the swimming pool.”
The 1400 square meter Aquatic Centre features a six lane, twenty five meter pool with an additional shallow teaching pool as well as enclosed changing areas, office areas, storage space, and mechanical room. Special design features were included that take environmental as well as operational and economical concerns into account; from the erection of the tensile structures that facilitate natural light and airflow through the building, which are complimented with the horizontal mechanical louver system on the facade, as well as solar panels on the roofing structure and a hybrid solar and gas heating system for the change rooms.
Elegantly designed, the Aquatic Centres continues to receive high praise, having previously received a commendation award in the Tubular category, as well as first prize in the Photographic category, for the 2014 Steel Awards.
“We are tremendously proud to have been a part of this project - and delighted by the commendations that it has received. Together with all our partners, we managed to implement several special design features that take environmental as well as operational and economical concerns into account, and construct something that is not only beautiful to look at, but is highly functional and expressive too," concludes Tavares.