ZM OPERATIONS BUILDING 2016
The ZM Industrial Operations Building is located on the southwest corner of a fuel tank terminal in the industrial district of Lusaka, Zambia. Busy and chaotic traffic of trucks, vans, and bicycles runs along the unpaved road leading to the site. The dynamic activity of this road is made visible inside the site through a visible permeable boundary. The project seeks to open up the plot to the street and vice versa, showing its activity to the outside.
An abstract piece with a square floor plan is proposed, alternating opaque and transparent façade fronts. Although the piece is apparently similar in its different faces, each opening gives access to a different environment and opens views towards different areas. This abstract piece reacts to its immediate surroundings. On the ground floor, access is through a covered entrance hall facing east, while on the opposite façade there is a covered terrace space. On the upper level, a double-height workspace opens to the north, towards the fuel terminal while, again on the opposite façade, the meeting rooms are oriented towards the urban traffic.
In section, each level is resolved with clearly differentiated heights. On the ground floor, there is a compression that seeks a relationship with the immediate surroundings, while the upper level of greater height is related to a more distant environment; with the horizon. On the ground floor, therefore, two compressed platforms are planned, generated by the recessing of the glass façade, while on the first floor these glass fronts generate linear terraces that can be used for informal gatherings.
The surrounding vegetation is intended as a transitional space between the industrial environment and the workspace. The building is located next to a large tree in the southwest corner which articulates the space around the building and gives it a more welcoming and friendly quality, linked to the lush nature of the country.
An enclosure made of large aluminium Z-profiles refers to the industrial environment while at the same time reacting to the reflections and gleams of the surrounding vegetation. Lusaka's stormy climate makes the perception of the building very changeable. In a matter of minutes, the building can be silhouetted against an intense blue sky emphasising its vibrant skin or it can be blurred in the heavy grey of storm clouds.
source: RUIZ PARDO - NEBREDA