The recent winner of the 2020 Outstanding Property Awards London under the Architectural Design, High Rise Commercial building category is as follows:
The 9-story building initially started off with an entirely different brief. The client initially required a series of shops along a strip on a different site but later came in with an alternative site that required a high-rise block to be constructed in place of the shops. PLANNING undertook the conceptualization of the building, which went through 4-5 idea explorations until the client was satisfied with the final design.
Inspired by the traditional brick technology common in Rwanda, it was decided early on that brick would be the main material utilized in the building, rather than the common glazing found in many office blocks. The PLANNING Team, in partnership with the contractor, conducted extensive experimentation and research during the pre-contract stage to ensure that the brick façade would work on such a large scale. The curved corners of the building were designed to showcase the versatility of brick.
The building has been designed and oriented to optimize the site and seamlessly integrate with the existing context. Internally, two blocks are joined by the core and service spaces, with a large atrium at its heart. The atrium diffuses high-quality natural light and ventilation to the floors, and the balcony accesses provide maximum subdivision pliancy, which is useful in a city where businesses wanting to rent may not be big enough to fill an entire floor. The services and core of the building are oriented along the East-West façade, while the livable spaces are located along the North-South façade, shielding occupants from the harsh tropical sun.
For building maintenance, walkways have been provided between the glazed façade and the brick external skin, which also act as breakout spaces for occupants. Public spaces have also been incorporated on the roof of the building as well as the ground floor. The roof serves as a massive solar energy harvester and rainwater catchment area.