Afrisam

Afrisam is a cement  and aggregates producer and was previously known as Holcim South Africa.  In 2007, 85% of Holcim was sold to the AfriSam Consortium, resulting in the new brand, AfriSam. ‘Afri’ refers to the company’s African heritage and the sub-saharan countries in which it operates and ‘Sam’ relates to the word ‘samente’ or ‘disamente’ which means ‘cement’ in six of South Africa’s official languages.

Ilnika Landscaping was appointed to create visually appealing gardens that would welcome visitors to the site in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, the landscape design was undertaken by Jonathan Jackson and Andre Pienaar begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting, who set out to create a green space with a lush, abundant look, bringing in elements of South African design such as aloes, rocks, pebbles and a grassland feel. Says Jackson: "We wanted to create something neat, yet visually striking and colorful, and to prove that even a cement plant can look attractive and add greenery to the environment. Cement is associated with an industrial environment and we wanted to convey a more human side to the company, showing that it too can promote greening.” The landscaped spaces are close around the main building.

The new security and visitor's parking areas are the first thing people see when entering the premises and it was therefore necessary for Jackson to make a strong statement here, namely that "just because it is an industrial site, it doesn't have to look like one:' The local municipality had already started to do this by planting Washingtonia Robusta palms along a section of the road just outside the main entrance. They are very hardy in this windy area and according to Jackson, form the aspect which first introduces the lush, green theme into the rather bleak surrounds.

The planting is a combination of indigenous and exotic and bold colour was a key factor in plant selection. Yellow, blue, red, orange and brown dominate the gardens as much as possible, and colourful foliage was also used. Plants include Acorus 'Gold', Ophiopogon Jaburan, Phoenix Roebelinii, Cocos Plumosa, Strelitzia Reginae, Carex 'Bronco', Cycas Revoluta, Ajuga Reptance, Olea Africana, Acacia Karoo, A. Sieberiana var. Woodii, A. Xanthophloea, Celtis Africana, Populus Simonii and Podocarpus Henkelii.

Large trees were used as wind barriers to improve the micro-climate for more tender species.

A staff pause area is a particularly attractive space to the west side of the main building, consisting of a small, paved circle reached by a short path of concrete sleeper stepping stones. The circle is surrounded by full, low level groundcovers and bright colour; which draws attention to the space. The overall impression of the landscaping here is fine and delicate, but a robustness is brought in by the presence of river boulders and aloes, which together create a 'natural rock feel', according to Jackson. The landscaped areas form small pockets at various points around the building, brightening them up with greenness, colour and a soft appearance from the flowers. Large rustic pots were used near entrances and in paved areas. Phoenix Roebelinii and Podocarpus Henkelii were selected due to their hardy nature.

Irrigation

A Hunter irrigation system has been installed, with three different control stations. PGJ rotating sprinklers were used for lawn areas and standpipes for flowerbeds. The layout of the irrigation had to be changed in some areas due to the activities of large trucks driving over pavements. Many sprayers had to be moved further away from the pavement edge to prevent them from being driven over by truck drivers. Municipal water is used and irrigation takes place daily.

Good timing

Jackson says landscaping teams need only be on site in the very last stages of building, when the majority of work is finished and the other contractors have moved off site. This prevents time being wasted as a result of having to redo planting work damaged during normal construction activities. "We were fortunate with this project because we were allowed to start after the building had been completed and most of the contractors, such as the plumbers, electricians and pavers, were off-site. AfriSam was an enjoyable project for us and it gave us great pleasure to beautify the environment for the people who work there," he says. Isa

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