ADO Architects


Centrex Building | Durban




Client : Telkom Centrex Building, Durban
Project name : Centrex Durban
Project value : R19 000.000 (1993)
Architects : Infracom (Johan de Villiers)
Project & Construction : Infracom (Johan de Villiers – Project Manager) and Albert Lourens & Partners
Management Team (Construction Managers)
Contractors : 28 Direct contracts
Consultants : Infracom (Now ADO Architects)
Other Consultants : CA Du Toit & Partners – Electrical & Mechanical Engineering
CFJ – Structural Engineers
Arup – Façade Engineering
Implementation period : 18 months

Telkom's Centrex complex in the Durban city centre, which houses the city's central telephone exchange, was several decades old and in desperate need of both external and internal refurbishment when Telkom decided in 1992 to go ahead with a complete repair and renovation project.

The Centrex complex consisted of three adjoining buildings that varied in height, configuration and architectural styles, because they were designed and built during different decades.


Architecturally, the challenge was to merge these three different styles into a harmonious entity, which mirrored Telkom’s new high-tech image. The buildings were in a general state of disrepair, especially with regard to overall appearance, spalling of existing cladding, working conditions, and the mechanical, electrical and sanitation services. A lot of sensitivity telecommunication equipment is housed in the buildings, so great care had to be taken during the project, with dust-free zones being created to protect the machinery. All work was conducted during office hours, which meant having to work around busy employees.

Modus Operandi


The application of the cladding, maintaining the lines of both the horizontal and vertical joints, achieves the architect's (J A de Villiers) vision of linking the three buildings into a single aesthetic entity. A huge 5m by 35m Telkom logo was integrated into the cladding. The refurbished kitchen and restaurant have created a more comfortable environment for employees. The revamped offices have provided a better, more productive working environment. A new landmark was created in Durban at a third of the cost of replacing the buildings, excluding land cost and existing telecommunication infrastructure. By implementing Project Management (Johan de Villiers) and Construction Management (Albert Lourens & Partners) +R3m (audited) was saved on construction costs.

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