Mossel Bay Shared Services Centre complete
A R60m project to rehabilitate an existing building in Marsh Street and turn it into the Mossel Bay Shared Services Centre was completed in September 2020.
Occupation of the facility has been delayed by a COVID-19-related shortage of the steel needed for manufacturing furniture.
This capital project created 48 jobs for the community of Mossel Bay, and created top-class offices for four Western Cape Government departments:
- the provincial Department of Health;
- the provincial Department of Agriculture;
- the provincial Department of Social Development; and
- the Western Cape Education Department.
Because the original building was older than 60 years, the project required Heritage Western Cape approval before work could begin. While the original building had little actual heritage value, the project was approached with due sensitivity.
During excavations, the remains of an old stone house were found buried. This stone was used in the garden retaining walls and the excess donated to Heritage Mossel Bay for use on other projects.
The design philosophy was to keep the existing building as intact as possible, to reinstate the corrugated sheeting roof, to remove all asbestos, to keep the plaque bearing the name of the original architect and builder intact, to repair all the existing timber windows in the north block, and to reuse existing windows where possible.
The provincial Department of Health will take occupation on 26 November 2020 and it is anticipated that the other three departments will take occupation in January 2021.
- The north block extension is a “concrete box on columns” added to the front where the old veranda used to be. It has a different architectural language to the original building. It has a green roof to provide thermal comfort and visual amenity for users, and it provides habitat for birds, bees, other insects and small creatures.
- All new windows in the new extensions are aluminium rather than timber.
- The new south block is of similar proportions and dimensions as the existing block, but the fenestration is articulated in small concrete boxes to converse with the north block extension.
- The new guard house and bin area is expressed as a “thickened boundary wall” in which certain activities can take place.
- Drought-resistant indigenous planting has been provided in the gardens to add colour, visual beauty and habitat.
- The iconic palm trees have been kept. Approval to remove the Norfolk pine was granted. However, when the removal of the tree was scheduled to take place, it became evident that birds were nesting in the tree. The design team quickly redesigned the parking areas to incorporate the Norfolk pine tree so that the birds could remain in place.
- Access from Marsh Street is by way of a ramp and stairs that weave between the two blocks.
- Natural wood balustrades have been used on the north block north façade to add warmth.
- Everywhere else on site, stainless steel handrails have been used. The horizontal pattern is carried throughout all the railings, with the exception of the green roof garden balustrade.