The Qualitative Architect
Delivering design with a personal touch
Since I was a child, I have always been fascinated by construction and beautiful design,” muses Italian architect Enrico Daffonchio.
“I was exposed to an architectural studio environment when I was 10 years old or so, when a friend’s dad who was an architect used to give us small tasks such as colouring up plans.
“My decision to set up my own firm was therefore not a business decision, but rather a case of finding a path that I enjoyed very much. Being an entrepreneur rather than following a corporate career I think is just what suits me best.”
In 1996 Daffonchio Architects was born.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, today its work covers not only its home city but also Cape Town, Dubai and Milan, the latter three combining to represent around 40 percent of its activities.
“Our home market is still tremendously exciting,” Daffonchio continues. “The Sub-Saharan Africa region is always more active than, say Europe, because so much infrastructure is still lacking.
“I love the variety of opportunities that this region offers. The tourism sector provides opportunities to design more hedonistic projects, while the need for mass housing poses interesting challenges in sustainability and urban design. We are based in the Johannesburg-Pretoria area which is one of the world’s megacities, and this is very exciting, as urban regeneration opportunities are enormous and well incentivised.”
The company’s move into a newly regenerated green building is reflective of its approach to design and the promotion of a more sustainable built environment.
For example, its recent project at 78 Corlett Drive in the Melrose North area of Johannesburg is ground-breaking in many ways, not least because it has achieved a Green Building Council 6 Star Rating and Net Zero Carbon accreditation.
It is the first office development in Africa to be awarded such a status, fitted with electric car charging stations, full cyclist facilities, passive solar shading design and a full photovoltaic array.
“We worked on this for Legaro Properties, and it is an important milestone for us because as well as the green credentials, it is making an above average return for the developer,” adds Daffonchio.