A new architecture that projects the company in the future, in terms of functionality and sustainability.
Our concept scheme for the GNPC (Ghana National Petroleum Company) new office building in Accra incorporates the latest trends in susteinable office design and has been conceived to obtain the LEED certification. In the “era” of the information as main growth driver, the main objective in a modern concept design for office buildings is to provide a corporation with a headquarter where communication between employees and management is easy and immediate. All departments need to be in connection and capable to deal together in order to proceed successfully. Lacks in communications cause large losses to companies and corporations, this is the reason why it should be avoided.
This is why the latest successful schemes in office design tend to facilitate people relations and exchange of information thanks to connections in between the different departments, common space for interactions, facilities for gathering and creating strong feeling of group identity.
The second relevant factor which led the design of the headquarters GNPC is the quality of the work space and occupant comfort.
This means work spaces implemented with climatic control, indoor air quality, views towards the outside and vegetation, open spaces and natural daylighting. Our design keeps into account these issues and conjugates them with the will to create innovative spaces using innovative sustainable solutions.
The result is an “open” building where outdoor space and vegetation are arranged to penetrate the building envelope and maximize landscaping features and pleasant views.
In the form configuration the first macro-concept that we consider is orientation: we set the building main facades with glass surfaces on the north-south elevations. This is the optimum in order to maximizing daylighting in the interior workspaces while protecting accurately the glass surfaces from strongest sun- radiation.
Our strategy is to provide outside views as much as possible while protecting the building envelope exposed to strong sun radiation. This includes the building top surfaces, designed as a large “umbrella roof” to create a wide shading to the whole building.
The building has been divided in two parallel blocks in order to have 4 main facades with good exposition.
The two blocks represent the hierarchy of the corporation where the two main groups of functions are the “Operations” and the “Administration”. Each one is hosted in one of the two blocks. The blocks are then connected by a large lobby on the level +1 and “meeting bridges” or suspended corridors. We conceived these meeting bridges as common meeting spaces that can be used by single Departments or even shared by different Departments and represent the point of junction of the whole company between the Operations and the Administration that includes the Management.
The position of the two building blocks are switched so that on East and West side of the plot we create a car driveway with parking spots and a pedestrian plaza respectively.
The Entrance is set on the East side and the position of the two building blocks allows an extremely modern/monumental foyer, covered by the overhanging roof and that generates a spacial East-West axis through the whole complex: is the “galleria”. The galleria is conceived to be the “communicational” corridor that connect the whole workspaces of the building and where the entrance lobby is located. This lobby connect the two blocks at the ground level and maximize circulation and distribution of the workforce in the building. It is a centralized point of control that increase security in the building.
Both car and pedestrian entrance to the building are located on the East side by the secondary road. This is in order to have a correct circulation and driveway access in both ways and a regular flow of users in and out the complex without consequences on the city traffic.
Security checkpoint is also centralized on the main gateway on the East side. The driveway is arranged to allow car traffic in the complex smoothly. A covered drop-on/off, proximity parking spots and/or ramp down to the 3 stories parking garage are the options. The rest of the complex is car/free. This would minimize the impact of driveway infrastructure such as asphalt areas, roads on the complex and reduce the heat island effect nearby the building. Clearly gained outdoor areas are used for landscaping and vegetation so implementing the beauty of the whole construction.
The building is 10 story high above grade and has a 3 stories parking garage below grade.
The “Operations” block is conceived as a monumental stone volume while the “Admin” block is a transparent fluid-like-oil volume which is connected to the “Operations” throughout bridges at all floors.
A large metal flat roof is supported by the stone block and covers both blocks in order to both create unity and protect the complex by rain and extreme sun radiation.
On the West side of the complex there is a pedestrian plaza for gathering and outdoor lunch break. Moreover this is the area used for outdoor the company kindergarden which is located in the North/West wing of the building.
There is an Attic on the building with outdoor roof garden. This is a facility for marketing events or reserved parties and meeting. Part of the Attic is covered and shaded by the umbrella roof.
Glass front on the South elevation is fragmented so that each building story is set as an individual element. This gives the building a vibrant effect of complexity and cooperation, innovation trends but strongly dependent from the solid standing of the other facades in stone panels with austere monumental windows opening which represent the established institution and its traditions.
In the indoor side we favored open spaces and double heights in order to increase connectivity within the company personnel and therefore exchange of informations.
Location / Accra
Year / 2015
Client/ Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC)
Stage/ Restricted international design competition
Lot area/ 408.000 sqm
Surface/ 50.000 sqm
Design Team/ OBICUA as BICUADRO architecture srl stp, O.C.R.A., 3+1, AF&Associates
MEP/ Hydroingea srl
Structural Design/ SBG&Partners srl