Capitec has moved into its new headquarters in Stellenbosch, in the Cape Winelands – nicknamed ‘iKhaya’, meaning ‘home’ in Xhosa.
Designed by dhk architects, the three-storey superstructure wraps around itself, creating a ‘doughnut’ shape and forms a central triple-volume atrium – an internal ‘social spine’ at the heart of the building.
“Once at reception, visitors are greeted by a generous triple-volume space that immediately showcases the sophistication and simplicity of the interior architecture,” said dhk.
“Wide open-plan floor plates loop around the periphery of the atrium which are connected by a series of dramatic bridges and staircases.
“This was an intentional design element which inter-connects the various departments, creating opportunities for chance collaborative encounters and personal interactions.”
Dhk said that the first and second floors, containing the office’s open-plan work areas, are largely void of hierarchical structure and closed-off cubicles. A raised access floor throughout the building facilitates maintenance and future upgrades to services.
On each level, a total of four ‘cores’, containing centralised amenities such as kitchenettes, meeting rooms, breakout areas, lockers, bathrooms and fire escapes, serve to augment the floor plates into departmental zones.
“Throughout the building’s ‘social spine’ there are a variety of breakaway areas; from a large ground-floor lounge at reception for guests to await meetings and co-workers to engage, to pause areas on bridges, and an internal landscaped courtyard for staff to rest,” dhk said.
“These spaces fuel creativity and innovation by allowing employees to slip away from their resident desks to enjoy a moment of solitude, conduct a private meeting or brainstorm ideas in small groups.”
Dhk said that other features include:
- A full-service kitchen and canteen area with ample seating,
- A small satellite café,
- A grand multifunctional stadium staircase/seating area for company presentations and talks.
- A recording studio,
- Capitec Bank branch
- ATM lab facility.
“To promote employee well-being, the building is purposefully limited to only two passenger lifts for its workforce of approximately 2,000,” dhk said.
“This is supplemented by a variety of generous feature stairs to encourage walking and limit the use of confined lift spaces.”
Capitec also engaged with a disability consultant and an acoustic specialist early on the design process.
These recommendations were incorporated into the building which includes sound-absorbing materials and acoustic separation between meeting rooms to achieve a specified performance in terms of decibel reduction.