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Mall of Africa bags wins Engineering Excellence Award

The Mall of Africa, one of the largest retail development to be built in a single phase in Southern Africa, received a recognition during the Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Awards.

The 131 000 m² mall was announced as the winner of the Engineering Excellence Award for projects with a value greater than ZAR250 million.

“Our goal was to combine excellent architecture and leasing expertise on the project, which would lead to a new urban framework, one that would be a catalyst for a new CBD in Midrand. We are proud of what has been achieved and want to thank everyone who contributed to the project’s success,” says James Ehlers, Atterbury Managing Director.

With main construction starting in September 2013 and completion in April 2016, it took a construction period of only 32 months to bring the 131 000 m2 of retail space, with a gross building area of 485 000 m2, to life.

The 16.5-hectare footprint of the Mall presented unique geotechnical challenges that did not allow for the application of any single founding solution. One of these challenges included the varying depth of bedrock and an abundance of subsoil groundwater in places.

“3D modelling of underlying rock profiles was done to ensure the most economical bulk earthworks design, and enabled the team to develop different founding solutions and retaining structures for different areas on the site. Instead of having a generic design approach to the structural elements, the design team reviewed different structural concepts for different areas in the building to ensure the most economical design was introduced for each of the different areas,” says Gerhard Saayman, Aurecon Professional Engineer.

Drawing inspiration from Africa’s geological beauty

MDS Architects’ vision for the design of the Mall draws inspiration from the natural and geological beauty of Africa. A variety of unique elements such as wide passages, a ‘column-free’ mall design, high shopfronts, an undulating roof feature in the middle with specialist animated LED lighting, and a large public space with restaurants known as the Town Square, makes the Mall of Africa a unique addition to the 1.73 million square metre Waterfall City development in Midrand.

“We are extremely proud to have been involved in this inspiring project and privileged to be able to partner with valued clients and project teams,” comments Ferdi Nell, Aurecon’s Managing Director, Africa. “Ingenuity, originality and innovation was needed to overcome many of the structural and geotechnical challenges that arose during the construction of the Mall of Africa. Bringing clients’ ideas to life is gratifying, and being honoured at the highest level with the achievement of this award, together with a variety of commendations, shows how our innovations continue to inspire.”

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