New heights for health club
The latest in the Virgin Active Classic Collection, Alice Lane Health Club, is poised to take health and wellness – and busy executives – to new heights! The construction of a new luxury ‘blue-chip’ health club situated in Sandton, Johannesburg at an investment of around R150-million is set to change the face of health experience. The challenge was to create a classic club facility with top end amenities and finishes – factoring in customised joinery, lighting and furniture – that was also environmentally sensitive.
“Alice Lane boasts a number of industry firsts with its dedicated rooftop training area, state-of-the-art equipment, contemporary finishes, time zone lighting and five-star service, which makes it an ideal choice for captains of industry, busy executives and discerning individuals,” says Jacques Jacobs, construction project manager, Virgin Active South Africa. The project team was given a fairly tight brief: Build a health club adhering strictly to green principles without compromising on world-class amenities. This includes the most technically advanced training equipment in a setting that is calm, tranquil and welcoming.
Set in the heart of the Sandton business district, the Alice Lane multiphase project, within which the health club is being constructed, comprises three office blocks designed around a large public piazza, with an extensive parking basement.
To keep the interior as eco-friendly as possible, materials were meticulously sourced and selected to ensure the project upheld a commitment to the Green Buildings requirements. Initiatives included sourcing sustainable local timber, recycled and recyclable materials as well as the installation of LED lights and other energy efficient systems.
“The air conditioning unit was custom designed and has a heat recovery system, which translates into no wasted energy,” explains green building consultant, Marloes Reinink from Solid Green. “Electricity conservation means there are no geysers at the health club, a plate heat exchanger will ensure there is hot water for the showers and spa areas. We are also ‘harvesting’ the backwash water from the pool as grey water, which will be used to flush the toilets and urinals.”
A decision was made to make use of the beautiful Johannesburg evenings and the first rooftop training facility was designed after negotiations with developers Abland. This presented its own set of challenges, one of which was the need for an additional lift and, of course, safety for the training facility which is 50m above street level. Clear safety glass, 1.8m high, around the perimeter ensures an uninterrupted view and all-weather equipment allows for training all year round. The dedicated lift will be fitted with AstroTurf for a seamless transition from the downstairs club area to the two lane 20-metre demarcated sprint track.
Jacobs says that there has been minute attention to detail in the design and construction as well as the services available at this health club. “Nothing has been overlooked,” he says, “from an on site biokineticist, training equipment that’s a first for South Africa, anti-gravity yoga and a full service restaurant to a shoe shine bar.” He adds that “the concept was about redefining the wellness and exercise experience and Alice Lane Health Club will deliver on this.”