The architectural tone of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) headquarters is set by the monumental main facade. Imposing in terms of its length and overspilling its base to create an impressive overhang, its contemporary, high-tech look expresses the strength of the institution, as well as its power and authority.
Oyo’s tropical climate demands that particular attention be paid to protecting buildings from the sun and ensuring that they are impervious to the heat. Furthermore, this new building is close to Oyo hospital and, as such, partakes of the city’s architectural modernity. To express BEAC’s 21st century credentials, the building we designed for the competition proposes a contemporary architectural style that is at once audacious and rigorous.
The base of the building has a telluric aspect with, in our design, a moulded concrete skin evoking matter emerging from the ground, clawing itself free from nature to form the edifice. The doors and windows of the offices and ground floor locales are inserted into these swathes of matter. The base is of a red terracotta colour emphasizing the harmony between the building and its natural environment.
The office building has a mobile double skin. The envelope is constructed out of 1.35 metre wide modular glass frames. On every floor there is a narrow galvanized steel-grating walkway between the façade and the metal slats. These slats, which are mobile, can be turned upwards to create canopies over the office windows.
The entrance hall is a vertical volume located next to the office building, which links the project’s two main components. Inside, there is an empty space enclosed and defined by the sky-bound constructions. It is protected by a canopy of slats zigzagging along the facade up to the entrance.