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Leading green building developer puts sustainability at core of new office block in Melrose North

What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?

This is the cornerstone principle of 76 Corlett Drive, the latest high-end medical centre in Melrose North, Johannesburg from green building leaders Legaro Property Developers.

This state-of-the-art office space, which will be a first-of-its-kind in South Africa once it attains its Living Building status, is now ready for investment.

In short, 76 Corlett wants to be the greenest building ever built on the African continent. The ambitious target improves the building’s long-term performance for its tenants, while reducing the development costs and ensuring a 10% investor return.

Set across two storeys of usable space, the building will achieve net-zero ratings for energy, water and land use, waste and ecology. No other building project in Africa has achieved this rating with all four categories.

The green building capabilities and systems of 76 Corlett supports its tenants, giving them the space to grow and excel at having a lighter carbon footprint from get go.

Featuring a rooftop urban farm, it effectively uses the green star rating requirement to improve the natural land used for the building, for the overall wellbeing of its tenants.

The building is both on- and off-the-grid. The exterior of the building is a mix of vertical gardens and sun-controlling aluminium, designed to allow as much natural light on the inside as possible, while using a smart cooling system that requires less energy.

Parking facilities are fitted with electric car charging stations. And with close proximity to the Gautrain, it also offers ample bicycle stations and convenient showering facilities for cyclists and runners. One-hundred percent of the water demand is supplied and recycled on-site.

Being more cost efficient and purpose driven

In a pandemic-hit world, the need to balance an efficient workplace with safety regulations now defines the working environment. Revenue models are constantly being called into question. 76 Corlett is designed to save money - and the planet - through its green principles, from the start of construction to the ongoing sustainable operations of the building.

Research shows that buildings are the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions globally and account for approximately 40% of total emissions.

The world is moving to a low-carbon economy. There is a rising valuation gap between modern buildings and older buildings. Retrofitting older buildings to play catch-up with the sustainable technology and spatial intelligence of today can be expensive.

Industry analysis reveals that commercial real estate, as a service approach needs to combine strategy, technology, and data to deliver digital and physical services – not just space – to tenants and consumers.

The design of 76 Corlett leads with this in mind.

Plug-and-play properties

Legaro understands that exceptional green buildings are key to a better tenant experience. They remove the stress of doing business in a sustainable environment, by making it more common place than complicated.

The 76 Corlett office layout is simple, yet scalable. Designed using sustainable, forward-thinking technology and principles, it allows tenants to get better at doing business in a carbon-neutral way, whatever their requirements.

The real estate strategies businesses take in 2022, with flexible offerings and trusted partnerships, will set the foundation for sustainable success over the next several years.

What it takes to be the most sustainable building in Africa, as measured by the highest international Green Building Rating - the Living Building Challenge & Green Building Council of SA?


  • The first Living Building Challenge Petal Certification for an Office building in South Africa

  • The first Living building Challenge water accreditation in the world, for a Medical Facility.

  • 6-Star green star Medical suites v1.1 Design certification


  • Highest Possible Rated Green Star Building in SA

  • Net Zero Ratings for all 4 Categories: Waste, Energy, Water and Land-use and Ecology

  • Living Building Challenge


  • ± 2060m2 (GLA)

  • 105 Parking Bays

Developed by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) with the purpose of leading and building a society that it "socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative", the Living Building Challenge standard raises the bar for sustainable development globally.

The Living Building Challenge is possibly the most difficult green building certification programme and sustainable design framework in the world, according to Daffonchio Architects.

"Solid Greens report based on our design and input concluded that 102,3 points were achievable out of the available 110 Green Star points thus setting the base point from which to start defining the elements of the design & make this innovative building the first of its kind.

A Net-Zero Water Rating:

A closed-loop complex wet-services system copies nature's hydrological conditions to reduce the strain on the surrounding environment. Water supply, including recycled water, is treated without the use of harmful chemicals. The system runs on solar and gravity and sustains ecosystems by producing oxygen, water and food. Human development needs are formed into this cycle with the least disruption to the pre-development conditions.

Water use is broken up into different categories namely, Potable water, Blackwater, Greywater, Green water, Irrigation, Evaporation & Infiltration. A water balance for the site as detailed by the rating requirements, ensures a circular system instead of a wasteful single-use water system.

Scalability & Disassembly:

The simplistic floorplate, with a centrally situated core & uniform glazing, allows for multiple tenants. The design is also scalable, as needed. The Green Star rating requirements specify that whatever greenspace footprint has been removed must be reinstated or increased with the new building.

76 Corlett exceeds this expectation with its rooftop urban farm, which provides potential food sources. The building can also be deconstructed from the inside out, through its louvres and photovoltaic array.

This anatomy of the building is also designed to increase water catchment, which is then recycled throughout the building, to water the farm produce. It is the perfect example of a self-contained, sustainable loop.

C02 Lifecycle Assessment:

The use of louvres and hybrid cooling system for temperature control, in conjunction with kinetic braking system, lifts funnel energy generated back into the building's own grid. The aim is to achieve 115% improvement over the notional building, as outlined in the modelling parameters of the CO2 report. It has a combined Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VFR) cooling system with a 10% increased sensible cooling capacity compared with standard VRF systems.

A photovoltaic array on the roof, which generates solar power, and the living water cycle all serve to reduce strain on the municipal grid.

Ultimately, the overall waste of the building has been taken into consideration. Its components are easily replicable and recyclable, further reducing its impact on the environment. The bulk of products used during construction have been sourced in South Africa, giving it an even higher green rating.



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