Tamir Addadi Architecture aims to reduce crime with open-aired community facility
Currently under construction, this commercial complex designed by Tamir Addadi and Raphael Cohen 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 ground level and offices on the higher floors.
Designed as an open system, this layout enables maximal flexibility for each user in arranging their private space and façades. While choosing the best for their needs, the users would also collectively determine the appearance of the building’s façades.
They will choose their private entrance out of several divisions and colours – this collection of 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.
Deciding upon the size of the balcony, the position of the rings and the type of greenery would enable the user to adjust and control the amounts of exposure, privacy and open view their space receives. Each user will make these decisions considering the specific location of their office or shop within the building, factoring in the height, cardinal direction, relation to the road etc.; the collection of all of the users’ choices together with the natural changes of the greenery throughout the different seasons will create a building that ‘responds’ authentically to its surroundings and users’ needs.
Considering Nairobi’s year-round mild climate, the outdoor areas were designed to act as an extension of the offices, providing additional, relaxed working environments. With wireless internet connection everywhere in the complex, work can be completed and meetings held in the large garden surrounded by cafes and restaurants on the ground floor, as well as in the three gardens located on the roofs of the inner buildings. Each of these roof gardens contains a kitchenette and a sitting area, and is designated for the use of one floor of offices.
The complex is open to the street, and is designed to be inviting to the passer-by with its garden, shops and cafes. This multi-use environment has a rich potential for a range of events and interactions, as it brings together those who work in the complex and others who are there to shop or relax.
Due to the high level of crime in Nairobi, developments tend to be closed, surrounded by a fence and guarding. By creating the extreme opposite – an open complex with lively public spaces at its centre, Tamir Addadi Architecture attempts to solve the security problem with the idea that ‘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, the practice managed to stick to a low budget – the complex has been no more expensive to construct then a typical office building of the same scale.