African Design Magazine April 2016 - Page 34

African project Africa Centre What is the total size of the project? This 2 700m2 campus of buildings makes up the field offices for the Africa Centre, a health and population research initiative located in northern KwaZulu-Natal. What would you say is the most noticeable feature of the building? The 15m high passive solar tower that can be seen as you approach the building as you come up over the hill about 2km away. Painted black to increase the heat stack chimney effect. How did the environment influence your design? The Original AC Design: Set on a south-facing slope, four research pods cluster around a cruciform space containing social functions. A 15m tower acts as a thermal stack to assist natural ventilation and provides a central reference point around which circulation and communal activities are arranged. Its prominence makes a bold statement in the surrounding landscape. Within each pod, open plan offices are arranged around courtyards to offer maximum exposure to natural light and ventilation. THE FURNITURE Click here to read more “We became involved in the Africa Centre project through Bartjan Hooft from ECA and immediately it was clear that they wanted something a little different in terms of the furniture to be used,” says Peet van Straaten from Raw Studios, who offer modern office furniture systems that are innovative, highly modular, locally designed and manufactured from sustainably sourced engineered materials. It was important to the client that the systems used were well-considered design wise and not just some generic tabling product and that the materials used were healthy, sustainable, free of plastics and chemicals (VOC’s) and painted surfaces. To fit the overall modern design aesthetic, they needed furniture that was l Y