Description from Tamir Addadi Architecture. The complex is located on a major road with a constant flow of cars and pedestrians. The main building, in the shape of an open box, delimits a garden with three additional small buildings. The complex includes underground parking, shops and cafés on the ground level and offices on the higher floors.
The complex is designed as an open system, enabling maximum flexibility for each user in arranging their private space and façade. While choosing the solution that best fit their needs, the users would also be collectively determining the appearance of the building’s façade. Occupants of the complex would choose their private entrance from several possible divisions and colours, and the culmination of these choices would compose the appearance of the internal façades surrounding the public garden. The external façades are affected by the users’ choices to a greater extent, as can be seen in the following animation:
Deciding upon the size of the balcony, the position of the steel rings that encompass it and the type and density of greenery used, enabled the user to control the exposure, privacy and view their space receives.
Clients made decisions based on the specific location of their space within the building, factoring in the height, cardinal direction, relation to the road and other external factors. The occupants’ choices, along with natural changes from the seasonality of the greenery used, created a building that responds authentically to its surroundings and its users needs.
Considering Nairobi’s all-year-round mild weather, the outdoor areas were designed to act as an extension of the offices, providing an additional relaxed and informal working environment. With wireless Internet connection throughout the complex, users can work and hold meetings in the large garden, surrounded by cafés and restaurants on the ground floor, as well as in the three roof gardens of the inner buildings. Each of these roof gardens contains a kitchenette and a seating area, and is designated for use by one floor of offices.
The complex is open to the street, inviting passer-by to enter and enjoy its garden, shops and cafés. This multi-use environment has a rich potential for a range of events and interactions, bringing together those who work in the complex and those who are there to shop or relax.
Due to the high level of crime in Nairobi, developments tend to be closed, surrounded by fences and high security. By creating the extreme opposite – an open complex with lively public spaces at its centre – we managed to solve the security problem in a different way, as places that are constantly watched-over by many people are not attractive for criminals.
By designing structurally simple buildings and using local technology and materials, we managed to stick to a low budget; the complex was no more expensive to construct than a typical office building of the same scale.