K E N Y A U A - I A B R
Proposal for the new African Union International Bureaux for Animal Research - African Union Campus - Nairobi, Kenya
VDMMA with MMI (Nairobi)
This project is a proposal for the new Headquarters of the AU – IBAR, situated on a green field site on the periphery of Nairobi City.
The brief called for : Conference Space, Convention and Exhibition Space, Banqueting facilities with back of house, Offices, Guest Accommodation (Hotel), ancillary spaces (retail, food outlets, medical rooms) and on-site Parking. (Gross area : + / - 12 000 sqm)
The site was populated with a few outstanding tree specimens, instantly recognisable as those found on the Serengeti Plains. Tall thin trunks, gradually branching out upwards, supporting a gauze like canopy of vein like branches and fine leaves far above overhead. Sun light filters through the canopies. Almost continuous sunlight, as the climate is more or less constant near the Equator, save for the rain months.
The building proposes a system of open and enclosed public and private spaces, contained serving spaces constructed upon a base of partially submerged parking, gathered beneath an over sailing roof canopy – in places solid, or transparent, gauze like, or open to the sky.
The proposed structure consists of a primary concrete column, slab and ‘in fill panels’ of masonry. The panels are built up using local hand cut stone and cement breeze blocks to create thermal mass. Deep trusses, approximately 5m in depth, span the ‘Halls’ to create column free space below for Conference, Exhibition and Banqueting functions. The deep trusses are occupied by Office space, further exhibition and break out spaces overlooking the plains to the North of the site. The major spaces are situated about, and open onto, a central ‘street’ or courtyard, allowing for very large events. Planting, including the import of more trees, and landscaping, is integrated throughout the proposed structures.
The functional brief has been arranged with clear distinction between served and serving spaces, providing separation between visitors and employees. The proposal is capable of being phased.