The basic brief from the client for this 10 storied apartment building in Upanga, Dar es salaam, Tanzania, was conditioned by their experience in living in an apartment building with a baby. Each apartment was to be self sufficient so that there was no recourse to other levels for amenities such as clothes drying. The largest open space left in Upanga partly provoked the curved walls that allow views of the playing fields from the rear bedroom; a synthesis of the ‘traditional’ building forms of Tanzania was another determinant.
The future development of Upanga, with its high plot ratios (which increased dramatically during construction), conditioned the asymmetrical location of the building on site: stairs and the lift and other utilities are arranged on one side, soon to be overlooked by forthcoming developments. The building was set back 10m from the boundary on the other side to allow privacy and the free flow of breezes. The front facade turns its face away from the west sun and also offers privacy from the array of cars from the west queuing for the bridge (trees and the curve of the road offer some protection from the cars driving from the east).
The ample terrace allows views of the green and is strung along to form a narrow balcony that allows cleaning of the windows; balconies at the side also allow maintenance of the west facade. The floor plans vary – some have open plan kitchens with a study/tv room/guest room with sliding doors that open to the living room. Services and air conditioners are hidden but easily accessible at every level without entering the living areas; the corridor is naturally lit in the middle. The ground floor is given over to parking, some of which is under the first floor, and other amenities.