Kenroyden consists of six large office suites, two retail units and a rooftop event space. It is one of the first new builds to be built in Braamfontein since the decline of the inner city in the mid 1970s. The building replaces an elegant but run-down facebrick structure built in the 1930s. Before being acquired by the client, this building housed several small-scale fashion designer and tailor studios as well as a famous African house nightclub, called Gringo’s. The new building seeks to create a modern, striking landmark in Braamfontein, while retaining some of the public communal spirit of the original building.
Local Studio were given the opportunity to submit a proposal in a closed competition, which has not yet been awarded. The building occupies a very small site in the city and the rationale behind Local Studio’s design proposal was to maximise height in order to achieve a building with slender proportions. These constraints present the challenge of increased constuction costs and make a positive feasibility model less possible to achieve than with a low-rise structure. The resultant design is a seven-storey building that can either be leased by one large company or by three small companies. The building’s structural and cladding systems were tested in two forms: one, as a diagrid structure and the other, as a simple concrete frame with facebrick cladding.