Inside SA skyscraper set to be Africa’s tallest building designed mostly by women

Theodora Aidoo October 03, 2019
Pic Credit: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

The tallest building in Africa is set to open this month in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa.

It is 15 feet taller than the Carlton Centre, which has held the record since 1973.

The building, called Leonardo, sits at Johannesburg’s financial hub with 55-storey building measuring 745 feet (227 meters) in height. It is situated 100 meters from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton on 75 Maude Street, South Africa.

Inside SA skyscraper set to be Africa’s tallest building designed mostly by women
The Leonardo building, the tallest in Africa at 745 feet (227 meters) high. Pic Credit: Legacy Group

According to CNN, the team of architects that managed the construction was female-led, with nine of the 11 positions performed by women.

“This unusual fact — the South African Institute of Architects in the Eastern Cape estimates that only 21% of the country’s registered architects are women — went unnoticed until a photo was taken late in the project,” the CNN reported.

The Leonardo, designed by South African firm Co-Arc International Architects, will house 254 apartments, a three-floor penthouse, a Montessori pre-school, five floors of office space, as well as, shops, restaurants, a gym and a herb garden.

The architects reportedly used thin sheets of Dekton, a super-strong material, for its exterior cladding.

Speaking about her role as an architect who oversaw construction at the site from November 2017, 27-year-old Malika Walele said: “Specifically being female, being young and being of color, there are a lot of challenges you face being in that building environment.

“I think there’s this preconception of females not being able to be in that sort of environment.”

“I really had to work hard to prove myself. It takes some personality. I really had to step up and speak out — make sure that I was being heard by the men,” she told CNN.

Meanwhile, director at Co-Arc International Architects, Patrick McInerney “hopes the success of the development itself will demonstrate that it’s possible to reach for the stars and achieve them.”

The price for an apartment at Leonardo is currently unknown but the General Manager, Adrian Landry, has stated that the penthouse, which will be custom-designed by the eventual owner and have space for six bedrooms, has attracted interest from both local and West African buyers.

The 234m skyscraper Leonardo, worth three-billion rand ($203 million), is a development by Legacy Group and Nedbank. Legacy currently operates 23 hotels and luxury residential complexes across Africa.

Its properties range from the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton to Hotel Le Cristal in Gabon and Labadi Beach Hotel in Ghana, according to Bloomberg.

Johannesburg alone houses four of Africa’s tallest buildings while three are in Dar es Salaam, two in Nairobi and one in Lagos.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: October 3, 2019


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