Gallery Office Building Park
In the heart of developing Lusaka in Zambia, lies Almayer May Memorial park that houses the newly built Gallery Office Park. Half of it remained a peaceful park and graveyard, while the other half has been converted into a gallery that will house one of the largest collections of Zambian art, a restaurant and a modern office building. The office architect strived to integrate sustainable design principles into the office designs and construction of the office buildings and site management, though the project was not formally accredited by the GBCSA.
Office architecture & Green building design
Lusaka experiences high diurnal temperatures that rapidly heat internal spaces especially when the afternoon western sunshine penetrates the building. The office design priority was to minimise this penetration on both sides, with all windows positioned within a recess and large overhanging eaves and canopies. The soft landscaping was planned from the earliest stages and surrounding all the buildings with lush greenery was also pivotal, and a green corridor between the two buildings provided an avenue for trees to provide cooling and shade to the neighbouring buildings while promoting a wind to provide evaporative cooling. The interior design and internal layouts were studied to maximise views. Parking was again planned with a row of trees on the external sides of the buildings. Where this was not possible, a louvred steel canopy was implemented by the office designers in front of the gallery and restaurant building, providing shade and protection from the elements.
Local building materials are simple, while any specific requirements would have to be brought in from South Africa, which involves over 1.500km of Rd transport. In addition, any skilled labour for non-conventional construction but also future maintenance would have to be flown in. This greatly aided the decision for a sustainable approach and employing local labour and materials wherever possible. The face brick cladding and mild steel profiles and louvres were a logical choice, as were the simple aluminium windows and precast pavers. Except for the light fittings, sanitaryware and floor tiles, that were not locally available, most of the other materials were of local production and expertise.
The Gallery Office design’s aesthetics were governed by the motifs of the old cemetery chapel as well the use of face-brick, thus blending into the serene landscape. in maximising shade, cooling and the viewing comfort of the various building occupants. Zimbabwe-based Pantic Architects designed all offices spaces with views towards the outside and of the vegetation all around improving the quality of spaces for all internal occupants of buildings, while minimising glare. Direct access to openable windows was provided by the office design to individually control the air temperature.
Office space design
A modular configuration within the office buildings allowed rentable units to be fractioned down to 240m2 or up to 1000m2, permitting flexibility for future tenant choice. All wastewater is recycled and after treatment at an anaerobic plant located at the bottom of the plot, is reused for irrigation purposes.
The Gallery is situated at the top of the plot, with internal and external exhibition areas and is linked to the restaurant and external area for cultural events and open-air exhibitions, providing a gathering place for generations to come.