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Carl List House Refurbishment - Carl List Mall - Alexander Forbes House
Windhoek, Namibia


Client:Ohlthaver & List/Broll
Type:Offices with shops to street


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22°34'05.62" S 17°05'02.82" E Alt: 1679m

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Namibia Institute of Architects Award of Commendation 2012

Award Citation

This adaptive reuse of a residential central city tower block dating from 1950s and the refurbishment of an associated mall has been done with care and sensitivity to the previous architecture. The mall replanning and realignment has returned vibrancy yet the architecture is restrained. The additional floor added for the use of the client has lightness and transparency so as to afford and enjoyment of the city-scape yet providing for a pleasant working environment. Structural adjustments to the plan layout of the existing flats has informed the space-making of the offices which shows care yet affords functionality. A recognition of the original materials and elements used in the facade would have been an architectural bonus. The panel of assessors confers the project with and Award of commendation.

Architects' Notes

This successful project, completed in August 2010, breathed new life into this landmark building on the corner of Independence Avenue and Fidel Castro Street. The original phase of Carl List House was built on this prominent street corner in the 1960’s. In 2004 the Client decided to refurbish this building entirely so as to extend its lifespan.

With this revamp Howard & Chamberlain Architects created a new look for the building that reflects the modern and dynamic corporate identity of the Client. This facelift saw the old Carl List House transformed into the modern Carl List Mall (CLM) and Alexander Forbes House (AFH), a revamp investing more than N$70 million into the Windhoek CBD.

From the inception of this project H&CA felt that it was essential to create a strong direct link from the adjacent Gustav Voigts Centre, through Carl List House, to Independence Avenue. H&CA felt that this would give the shops in the new Carl List Mall a real viability, as it would secure them sufficient pedestrian traffic. To achieve this, H&CA proposed that the existing courtyard be removed and the new Carl List Mall to be internalized entirely. The results speak for themselves.

A highlight of the design process was the creation of an additional floor on top of the existing building to house the offices of O&L. These offices have a commanding view of almost the whole of the CBD.

A significant design challenge was the creation of sufficient parking. At the time of its inception 50 years ago, very little was prescribed by Council in terms of parking requirements on site, and therefore this played an insignificant role in the design of the building. In the case of Carl List House the need for additional parking had become a very real necessity in order to make its office spaces viable. H&CA solved this problem by creating a new parking garage at the back of the building. The first phase in the construction of the new building therefore started with the new parking garage.

Another interesting aspect of the design brief was the Client’s instruction that the new building must have as small a carbon footprint as the budget could allow. All relevant aspects was considered from passive cooling, window sizes, choice of glazing, shading devices, roof overhangs, orientation, insulation, choice of materials and finishes, etc.

Commercially this project has been a resounding success with the valuation of the building increasing by a staggering 150%. Given the time constraints and budget limitations this was a challenging project indeed. Not only did H&CA have to come up with aesthetically pleasing design solutions, but these decisions had to be simultaneously prompt and cost effective.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.