local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-01

until the summer of 2015, switzerland was represented in ivory coast, or côte d’ivoire, by an embassy located in the upper storey of an office tower. now, a new building designed by LOCALARCHITECTURE stands on a generous plot of land surrounded with tall trees. in 2013 the OFCL (swiss federal office for buildings and logistics) decided to acquire the former residence of the norwegian ambassador in abidjan’s cocody district, planning to renovate and extend the existing building in order to house the new swiss embassy. the design team set about converting the villa, which dated back to the 1960s, into a fully functioning workplace.

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the building stands on a generous plot of land surrounded with tall trees
image © iwan baan (also main image)

 

 

 

LOCALARCHITECTURE’s major intervention involved extending the property on the street side with a concrete structure that houses the consular section where visas are handled. this addition extends the horizontal roof of the original villa, creating a new façade. the point of entry is raised above ground level and accessed via a broad, inviting stairway. the roof slab rests on concrete pillars, which are irregularly spaced and set at various angles. a sheltered interstitial gallery acts as a shaded waiting area and also protects the glazed façade from inclement weather.

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the project’s major intervention involved extending the property with a new concrete structure
image © iwan baan

 

 

 

according to the architects, the pillars of the new façade are intended to reflect switzerland’s economic and political strength, conveying a sense of discipline and security. meanwhile, the construction’s raw concrete pays homage to the country’s modernist architectural heritage. internally, an elongated reception hall contains a number of counters — four of which are set into the back wall. this aspect of the design evokes the exchanges between the two countries, juxtaposing strips of ivorian wood with mirrors reflecting the garden around the glazed counter desks.

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the point of entry is raised above ground level and accessed via a broad, inviting stairway
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
a sheltered interstitial gallery acts as a shaded waiting area
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the pillars of the new façade are intended to reflect switzerland’s economic and political strength
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the use of raw concrete pays homage to the country’s modernist architectural heritage
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
strips of ivorian wood are juxtaposed with mirrors reflecting the garden
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the addition extends the horizontal roof of the original villa, creating a new façade
image © iwan baan

local-architecture-new-swiss-embassy-ivory-coast-abidjan-designboom-02
the pillars are designed to convey a sense of discipline and security
image © iwan baan

 

drawings

 

project info:

 

client:
swiss confederation
office fédéral des constructions et de la logistique (OFCL – swiss federal office for buildings and logistics)
jodok brunner
project architect:
LOCALARCHITECTURE, lausanne, CH
antoine robert-grandpierre
manuel bieler
laurent saurer
diana brasil
local architect:
cabinet A.C.A., francis sossah, abidjan, CI
consultants
structural engineer:
thomas jundt ingénieurs, carouge, CH thomas jundt
electrical engineer:
perrin & spaeth ingénieurs, renens, CH michel marville
security engineer:
scherler SA, ingénieurs conseils, geneve, CH nicolas tireford
general contractor:
de luca SA, bienne, CH fabio de luca
chef de chantier: renéhäni
photography: iwan baan

 

location: abidjan, côte d’ivoire
conception: march 2013 – april 2014
construction: july 2014 – march 2015

 

plot surface: 5,850 sqm
built surface:
renovation 530 sqm
new construction: 208 sqm
volume SIA: 1980 m3

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