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Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management - NIPAM
Windhoek, Namibia

MARLEY TJITJO ARCHITECTS: Architect

Date:2011
Type:Government Buildings
Status:Extant

Architect's Notes

Background

The government of the Republic of Namibia established a public service charter that was aimed at improving the quality of public service delivery in the country. To this ends, the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management was established and needed accommodation for its operations.

Brief

The brief essentially called for a training facility, which would incorporate a library, lecture rooms, computer labs, multiple- purpose hall, and offices for administration, cafeteria, amphitheatre and printing rooms.

Design Approach

The architects realized very early in the design process that with the limited budget available, an ingenious way had to be found to realize the client’s ambitions. Individual buildings spread out over the site was considered not an option as these will lead to duplication of facilities such as entrance lobbies, ablution facilities, circulation areas such as walkways and stair wells and would lead to increased cost.

The building concept therefore sought to consolidate the disparate elements of the brief in one, singular building while maintaining the functionality of the different spatial units. The flexible use of the different spaces in the building was also considered of outmost importance. For example, syndicate rooms should double up as offices, and boardrooms as possible study areas.

The design had to take into account future, possible phases for expansion of the campus once additional funding is available.

The Building

The plan configuration thus derived, resulted in a T- shaped building hinging around the central reception area containing the vertical circulation core. Three separate wings of the building containing the library, administration and lecture rooms fan out from this space. The building further utilizes the natural slope of the site in an east-westerly orientation in its spatial organization.

The larger span areas such as the library and lecture rooms straddle the site along the higher eastern boundary and form the essentially double story entrance elevation. This ensured a lower rise elevation that relates well to the low-rise residential neighbourhood across the road. The administration wing is essentially a four storey building which utilized the slope of the site by rising three floors to the higher, eastern side and dropping one floor to the west; thus creating a lower level, which accommodates the restaurant or cafeteria. This lower level is naturally separated from the rest of the facilities through the use of the slopes in order to regulate pedestrian traffic and noise pollution. The restaurant lives out onto a landscaped patio to the southern side of the building, and have access to the amphitheatre to the north of the building.

The restaurant, patio and amphitheatre was conceived off as the future social lung of the entire complex once future phases are completed.

Aesthetic

The building exterior was finished off in a minimalist approach. The white, textured paint finish with generous stone cladding around the high activity areas ensures a low maintenance, under-stated building while creating a strong institutional identity for NIPAM.

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.