The Joburg Property Company has scooped the award for the Best International Public Services Development at the International Property Awards for the iconic new Council Chamber.
The International Property Awards, which celebrate the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry, bestowed the JPC this honour on Monday night in the United Kingdom.
The JPC was the only nominee from Africa in the awards’ Public Services Development Awards category. Last year the R280 million Council Chamber was awarded the 5 Star Green Award, which recognises excellence in South Africa for environmental leadership and this was just the beginning of the awards.
The JPC has also been awarded the Public Services Development Award by the Africa & Arabia Property Awards, which are the largest, most prestigious and widely recognised programme throughout the regions.
The Speaker of Council in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Vasco da Gama, welcomed the latest award.
“This is certainly another feather in the cap for our beloved chamber and thank you to everyone who have played a part in the construction and maintenance of this awesome chamber. Your hard work is bearing fruit,” said Cllr Da Gama.
The majestic Council Chamber is a state of the art architectural innovation, which has been designed in such a way that it provides seating capacity for 363 councillors and 172 seats in the gallery for the public and media - 80 seats more than is currently required, in order to cater for future expansion.
The hi-tech audio-visual and delegate system is fully programmable and completely customised to be updated in line with any future changes in the way that the Chamber operates. The form itself is that of a transparent drum - a cylindrical structure enveloped entirely by a glass façade with vertical glass fins covering the curved outer skin of the building.
The circular shape of the chamber is an important feature as it represents the African drum, commonly used in music making across the African continent. It is also symbolic of the lekgotla, a centuries-old traditional African gathering place. The word itself means “a place where meetings are held” in seTswana.
The glass building envelope enables an uninterrupted visual link between the indoor and surrounding outdoor spaces. This allows the outside world to have a visual connection with the building’s occupants, which is symbolic of a constant dialogue between the public and municipal officials.
The main chamber contains locally crafted carpeting while the entrance walls of the chamber are adorned with array of artwork in various media. Outside, a set of six-metre tall flagpoles are positioned around the pond. These flagpoles bear the names of former councillors, in tribute to their service.
The chamber also boast 134 heritage totem poles, which reflect the stories of the residents of the city, from its San heritage to the scramble for gold.