U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations | N'Djamena, Chad
The New Embassy Campus in N’Djamena, Chad, Africa is sited
on a 13-acre site near the Chari River and is comprised of a Chancery, Marine
Security Guard Quarters (MSGQ), Cabana, and four support buildings. The site
plan is organized in zones to help separate service and support buildings,
forming a buffer on the east. The principal 2/3 of the site is developed as a
sustainable “Sahel” landscape in which the main campus buildings are set. The
Chancery and MSGQ architecture frame “Oasis” gardens for more frequent
habitation. The gardens in turn temper the immediate outside environment,
providing the relief of shade, greenery, and water to the views from the
buildings’ interiors. Exterior architectural walls are a concrete construction
with an outer layer of rainscreen paneling.
The paneling is composed of thin-walled fibrous concrete mounted to a
metal substructure. The limited material palette is intended to create a
dignified and calm aesthetic, using a readily available, pragmatic system for
shipping and assembly. Colors and surface textures of the panels provide scale
and detail. The network of free-standing and building-mounted canopies mediate
between building mass and surrounding landscape spaces. Canopies over the Lobby
and Café are configured to collect rainwater to spill into rain gardens below.
An architecturally expressive layer of horizontal and vertical sun controls
will protect the interiors from direct sunlight and heat gain.
Both the project type and location pose various
design challenges. However, the design evolved from goals to develop a
sustainable project with future flexibility, durable integrated systems and low
operating costs, and provide economic approaches to construction in a remote
region where skilled labor is in short supply. With photovoltaic panels on
building and canopy roofs and a central utility building providing full on-site
power generation, the campus is “off the grid”. Other sustainable initiatives
include earth tubes, wastewater effluent reuse, and constructed wetlands.
For nearly 120 years, the Society of Arts and Crafts has had a dual mission to
encourage the creation, collection, and promotion of the work of contemporary
craft artists and to advance public appreciation...