An edifice in Sandton, Johannesburg’s financial nucleus and economic engine, will become the tallest in Africa when it opens later this year. Currently, the Johannesburg’s Carlton Centre still towers over the rest but the clock is still ticking.
The Leonardo, a 55-story building which measures 745 feet (227 meters) in height, is just 15 feet taller than the previous recorder holder, the Carlton Centre, which has dominated the Johannesburg skyline since 1973.
This will see Leonardo pipping the height of the 223-metre Carlton Centre in Johannesburg’s CBD as the tallest building on the continent.
Designed by South African firm Co-Arc International Architects, the Leonardo contains a blend of office space, shops, apartments and hotel rooms. The architects chose to use thin sheets of Dekton, a super-strong material, for its exterior cladding.
At 75 Maude Street, it will be within walking distance of the JSE, the Sandton Convention Centre, Nelson Mandela Square and the Gautrain station.
The team of architects who managed the construction was female-led, with nine out the 11 positions performed by women. This unusual fact, the South African Institute of Architects in the Eastern Cape estimates that only 21% of the country’s registered architects are women went unnoticed until a photo was taken late on in the project.
Malika Walele, 27, an architect who oversaw construction at the site from November 2017, “Specifically being female, being young and being of colour, there are a lot of challenges you face being in that building environment.
“I think there’s this preconception of females not being able to be in that sort of environment.” she told CNN.
While the completed building will become the tallest building in South Africa and Africa, the title for the latter will only be temporary, as Kenya has plans to steal it within the next three years.
The Pinnacle Tower in Nairobi, Kenya when completed, is planned to stretch over 300 metres into the air. Construction on The Pinnacle launched in January 2018, with a planned finish in 2021.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in May 2017 laid the foundation stone for the project, which has a completion date of 2021
But none of the continent’s skyscrapers features in the world’s 100 confirmed tallest buildings, which is led by the 828 m-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirate.