If you can't take the heat...

Sian
Thursday 24 Mar 2011

Government office in Samoa now open for business, featuring specific architectural features for humid tropical climate


Recently completed and now fully functioning, Whitefield McQueen Irwin Alsop’s headquarters for the Government of Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture (MESC) is a strong architectural statement in a tropical climate. The fiery colouration is counteracted by carefully cultivated landscaping which has been engineered to have a visual cooling effect for the building’s users.

The 4,700 sq m complex is one of the largest buildings in the South Pacific and extends over two wings and multiple levels. Comprised of essential office and support functions such as meeting rooms, staff breakout areas and resource facilities, the structure also incorporates an onsite recording studio and separate suite for the Minister, encompassing individual offices, meeting rooms, a kitchen, and toilet facilities.

Care has been taken to ensure that the building design is appropriate for the site location, with indigenous materials utilised in correlation with design details from the local vernacular. The basic form of the MESC headquarters has been constructed using conventional concrete in order to comply with seismic and cyclonic conditions, with a traditional Fale incorporated behind the building to act as an outdoor meeting area and ceremonial space for celebratory functions.

Also taken into consideration was the humidity of the area, and Whitefield McQueen Irwin Alsop deliberately ensured that the width of each wing measured 15m to maximise use of the prevailing air movement, reducing dependency on air conditioning. Broad eaves to the north and south provide intense shading as the building’s location means that heat loads can hit both sides of the structure. Photovoltaic panels have been installed to furnish the complex’s energy requirements whilst large underground tanks collect rainwater which can be reused in the bathrooms and is purified for consumption.

 

Key Facts

Architecture
Samoa

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
Jobs
  • Town Planning Manager | Housebuilder in Surrey | 3+ years' PQE

    Are you a Town Planner with some commercial experience under your belt (consultancy or developer)? Would you like to work for a regional housebuild...
    • Lewis Davey
    • Surrey - near M25/M23 junction
  • Principal Planning Consultant (Policy)

    This is a career opportunity for somebody looking to play a key role in the delivery of an effective and efficient planning policy service.
    • Capita
    • Manchester/Salford (North West) or Breckland or North Tyneside or Barnet (North London)
  • Planning Officers

    Work as key members of the Councils development management service providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications and appeals.
    • Chiltern and South Bucks Council
    • Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Enforcement Officer - Hertfordshire

    A Local Authority in Hertfordshire are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 3-6 months
    • Oyster Partnership
    • Hertfordshire
  • Planning Officer

    Do you want to work for a Planning Authority in a superb world-class location, that also has an outstanding record of achievement?
    • Plymouth City Council
    • Plymouth, Devon