Capitec Bank has unveiled its innovative new headquarters, iKhaya, meaning “home” in Xhosa, in the Cape Winelands.
Designed by dhk Architects, the three-storey curvilinear building is defined by its dynamic interior architecture, which embodies the company’s progressive outlook and embraces the concept of agile working.
The new headquarters efficiently consolidate Capitec’s staff and facilities that were spread over geographically dispersed buildings as a result of the company’s success and growth over time.
Because of its location in Technopark, Stellenbosch, a key driver of the design concept involved capturing panoramic vistas and drawing the landscape in.
The building form optimises the shape and size of the site while referencing the brand’s distinctive curved logo. The three-storey structure wraps around itself, which creates a unique “doughnut” shape and forms a central triple-volume atrium – an internal “social spine” at the heart of the building.
On the inside, the design ensures that guests and staff feel the spirit of the brand throughout the building. Once at reception, visitors are greeted by a triple-volume space showcasing the sophistication and simplicity of the interior architecture, and the company logo embossed on the ceiling.
Touches of timber have been added throughout the space to introduce a feeling of warmth.
The new headquarters foster a company culture of creativity, innovation and collaboration with a strong emphasis placed on optimising internal flow and departmental interaction.
The first and second floors, containing the office’s open-plan work areas, are largely void of hierarchal structure and closed-off cubicles. Throughout the building’s “social spine” there’s a variety of breakaway areas.
Wide open-plan floorplates loop around the periphery of the atrium which are connected by a series of bridges and staircases. This was an intentional design element which interconnects the various departments, creating opportunities for chance collaborative encounters.
Capitec championed environmental sustainability and employee well-being throughout the building. Natural light is optimised via clerestory glazing, roof lights and internal courtyard windows, while artificial lighting is zoned and activated by sensors
Other sustainability measures include ice storage to offset peak electrical demands, a greywater system, water-saving fittings, borehole and rainwater harvesting for irrigation, water-wise planting and refuse management to encourage separation of waste and recyclables, double glazing throughout, use of good quality and low maintenance materials, locally sourced materials, water-efficient heat reduction, zero ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) refrigerants, and use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) finishes.
To promote employee well-being, sound-absorbing materials and acoustic separation between meeting rooms were included throughout the building, achieving the specified decibel reduction.