Situated in the financial district of Ghana’s capital, Accra, Ecobank required an integrated consolidated solution for a new head office building, as their various banking departments were previously accommodated in separate buildings. The new headquarters needed to be modern, state-of-the-art and iconic to affirm the prominence of the bank.

ARC Architects entered their design into the competition and collaborated with local architect group, Mobius Architecture, to eventually bring this building to life.

On the facade, double-glazing techniques and exterior shading assist with accomplishing energy efficiency by minimising glare and reducing heat.

 

Connected spaces
The design comprises two building components mediated by a multi-volume entrance foyer which facilitates the legibility of the flow pattern for visitors. The interior further supports an open-floor system which separates the public from the private spaces, without barriers or walls.

The two towers stand on podiums and are connected with each other. The executive offices are located in the higher tower, while the public areas and banking hall are housed in the lower section.

Complementing the unique design form is a focal spiral staircase and glass sky panels which allow natural sunlight to flow into the building. The building has no definite front or back angle, and this provides for an interesting and distinctive design silhouette.

The two building components are mediated by a multi-volume entrance foyer.

 

Sustainable interventions
Best practice green principles were followed to deliver an energy-efficient building at all times in the challenging climate.

The building needed to provide for maximum user comfort. Computer-based energy modelling and solar studies were done to determine a comparative energy consumption basis with a similar building type throughout an entire year of operation. This determined the exact building requirements for the Ghanaian tropical climate.”

On the facade, double-glazing techniques and exterior shading assist with accomplishing energy efficiency by minimising glare and reducing heat. In addition, the perforated double-skin facade allows for natural light to enter the building, while the world map design adds as an attractive exterior feature. The use of double-glazing is a first of its kind in Ghana.

The perforated double-skin facade allows for natural light to enter the building.

 

The building is also equipped with a central building management system, which is linked to all services to ensure management and optimisation of energy consumption to keep every facet of the building running smoothly, sustainably and cost-effectively.

These energy-efficiency measures are complimented by water harvesting and the ability of lighting fixtures and air-conditioning units to be activated on movement.

 

Construction challenges
Building construction in Ghana is always challenging due to limited local manufacturers and suppliers. As most items had to be imported, procurement and time management were of paramount importance. Therefore close communication and collaboration with local and international suppliers were fundamental in the design and building processes to deliver a solution which would meet the client’s expectations.

An innovative mind set was paramount from concept to interior design, inclusive of furniture selection, and was achieved through the hands-on approach adopted by all consultants involved. It was this level of dedication that resulted in an award-winning development, which not only adds value to the Accra skyline, but stands testimony to the growth spurt deserving of the proud tradition of Ecobank.

The Ecobank headquarters project was named the winner of the International Developments Award of the SAPOA Property Development Awards for Innovative Excellence for 2018.

ARC Architects
Tel: 012 362 7350
Email: arcpta@arc.co.za

Caption main image: The design comprises two building components mediated by a multi-volume entrance foyer.

Photos by Franz Rabe, Natural Photography

 

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