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Abel Pitakomoki Architect, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Tuesday 08 Feb 2011

Come rain or shine

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Foreign Affairs building designed with cultural values in mind 

PROJECT: Melanesia Pacific Haus, Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Melanesia Pacific Haus is a commercial building in Honiara, now currently housing the Foreign Affairs department of Solomon Islands. It was completed in December 2008.

This building is located in a Melanesian country in South Pacific, a tropical zone which is cyclonic, hot throughout the year, in an earthquake zone and with high rainfall, where cultural values are still high.

Originally, the design was born from the architect's love for 'beauty'. Thus the design shows some of what's always conceived in an architect's heart and mind. The architect always loves to see beautiful things.

The design is simple, utilizing mostly abundant local materials and constructed to appear modern. Integration of glass and colour gives a modern look and a sense of cleanliness. The use of solid full height walls at the ends displays strength, while the hierarchy of the roof forms defines its functions.

Form and special quality: the design allows for natural day-lighting and natural cross-ventilation, and is thus energy efficient. It also encompasses the following factors: the fluent disposing of rain water, stability, and the integration of traditional building forms, which speaks of identity and offers unique experiences to viewer and users. The employment of additional functional shapes gives a sense of proportion and makes the building interesting, again displaying the architect's idea of beauty.

Escapes at two ends are incorporated as part of the building, holed in concrete as outlooks. The design is also suggestive of the possibility for future designs or expansions. A bridge connection point is allowed for at the back to bridge future buildings, and is thus friendly and harmonious. The main entry is clearly defined, aesthetically addressed and functional.

Sustainability: the main building materials are concrete and timber, which are readily available in the country and thus sustainable. In case of energy crises, this building can be sustainable as the design is more 'tropical'. This causes no environmental pollution, as is the case with  buildings that have higher energy consumptions.

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Abel Pitakomoki

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