We were appointed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, after a limited design competition, to provide a joint diplomatic building for the British, French, Dutch, German governments, the EEC and for DIFID. Each legation required its own scope areas but some facilities were to be shared. The building needed to be both secure and sustainable.
The concept of a ‘co-location’ building for each legation had never really been attempted before. Consensus was required on all decisions. An initial ‘doughnut’ shaped plan evolved into parallel blocks each side of an atrium within which were lifts and, at ground floor, all the shared facilities including the main entrance. The parallel office floor plates allowed for variable internal areas for each legation with consequentially varying external terraces.
The Manser Practice appointed local consultants and working closely with the whole team, the project was on time and on budget. Regular visits to site by team members ensured a close working relationship with the contractors and maintained a high quality of finish on site.
An early decision to make the structure of the building ‘in situ’ for which both the materials and skills were indigenous paid dividends. Added security and bomb blast provisions following the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi bombings were easily incorporated. Fresh water storage, rain water harvesting, solar water heating and natural ventilation gave the building extremely good environmental credentials.