Buhrmann & Partners Offices in Namibia celebrated with multiple design awards
The Buhrmann & Partners Office Building received an Award of Excellence from the Namibia Institute of Architects in April 2012 in addition to the Commendation awarded at the 2012/2011 Dedalo Minosse International Prize in Vicenza, Italy in August 2011.
Based on a working relationship of more than 20 years, it was a natural step for Sigi Teetz of Buhrmann & Partners and Jaco Wasserfall of Wasserfall Munting Architects to partner up to create a new office complex. The clients' requirements were: demolish the existing house; keep the beautiful garden; use off-shutter concrete; and introduce the element of water. Also, the three partners had to be accommodated in separate offices with views of the garden.
When it came to the design, simplicity and geometric clarity served as the basis. A long concrete beam is used as a prominent circulation axis marking a clear approach to the building while at the same time separating production and administrative zones. It also serves as a unifying element that ties the various single storey building components and staff-parking structures into a single architectural unit.
Conceptualised as a double-volume container, the large draughting office has a winged and centrally cantilevered concrete roof allowing an abundance of natural light. Individual offices and discussion nodes are attached to the glazed facades of the main area, framing views of the garden. A generous roof overhang shades the glazed facades of the main space while horizontal louvers provide shade for the offices.
The element of water separates building from garden, while a brightly coloured curved wall shields the building from the fierce west sun, at the same time providing visual relief and suggesting movement. When it came to the choice and use of material, details and finishes, a minimalist approach was followed. Here exposed structural elements are used alongside simple concrete, steel and aluminium, timber and glass. The partners’ initial hesitation regarding the limited use of bright colours in focus areas, was overcome by presenting them with computer rendered images of the building beforehand.