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Muse Architects were approached by the client for the design of their new showroom and workshop in Walmer, Port Elizabeth.

The building is located on Main Road Walmer, an established residential area that is developing as a boutique shopping node with several new businesses and shops.

The client’s brief asked for a multi-use commercial building with retail, showroom and office spaces towards the street. Whilst allowing for a small workshop and dispatch space in the rear. The building had to be versatile in its spaces that it can accommodate multiple different tenants in the future. The client requested that their product be integrated into the design of the building’s envelope and facades that the building itself may showcase their product.

Large overhangs, louver canopies and a perforated second skin allow for controlled sunlight harvesting to aid in passively controlling the internal temperature. A rainwater harvesting system that collects from the large roof area stores water for washing and the flushing of toilets.

Two other factors informing the primary design response were: i) Urban Fabric; the area, although changing, still has a residential scale and it was therefore imperative that the new building is sensitive to its surroundings ii) Environmental; recycling of the existing structure and control of North light as well as maintaining views to the outside in order to aid employee comfort.

The original walls of the dwelling were retained, and a first floor added using lightweight materials with heavily insulated walls and roof. The added floor simplifies the existing footprint and allows for a flexible letting space. The first floor is clad in roof sheeting which allows for the building scale to remain similar as before but also maintain its presence as the area develops into a commercial hub. The new roof also simplifies the harvesting of rainwater as well provides for the installation of photovoltaic panels in future and the overhang at the rear provides shaded parking. For the tenants

Apart from showcasing Trellidor’s products in the building another design element used was a laser cut trellis as a sunscreen which references the ‘trellis’ of the company with the dynamic angles also aiding in the branding of the company. The façade is further softened by introducing timber to reduce the scale and to add warmth. The workshop component at the rear is completely clad in roof sheeting thereby communicating its use.

A second residential component is planned for the future which will act as a transition from the commercial to the single dwelling properties to the south of the development