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Namibia National Re-insurance Corporation Limited - NamibRe
Windhoek, Namibia



Architect's Notes

When the para-statal; NamibRe, commissioned the architects for the design of their new Corporate Head Office, they emphasized a few points of importance: the need to allow for future growth, a unique corporate identity, and the use of sustainable energy solutions.

The overall design concept was derived from the NamibRe logo; which incorporates a grain storage basket or "eshisha", as it is commonly known in Oshiwambo. This logo aptly represents the business of the client, which is securing clients against future risk.

The building was thus conceived of as a series of "baskets" containing functional spaces. A circular volume, shaped in the form of the "eshisha", serves as a pivot around which two rectangular volumes or "baskets" hinge.

The "eshisha" contains the central, public core that accommodates circulation space from which the public is dispersed to access the respective office areas in the building.

The other "baskets", I.e the rectangular volumes, contain four units which can be rented out separately or used together when the clients need for office space grows. Because of spatial constraints, and the high, parking requirements of the local authorities, which meant that most of the ground floor was utilized for parking, the common entertainment area is accommodated on the "roof" of one of this building. This area is fitted with retractable louvers and roller shades for thermal protection and takes full advantage of the views towards the north and the south.

The building is also designed to take full advantage of passive energy sources such as natural cross ventilation and natural lighting through extensive operable fenestrations, area lighting through solar power from solar panels installed on the roof top of the circular volume.

The sun shading devices used on the circular volume help to accentuate the shape of the "eshisha".

The horizontal, linear elements seen on the rectangular volumes pick up from the concept of weaving as in a basket. Other than in the fenestrations on the rectangular volumes, these linear elements can also be found in the fencing, signage walls, service duct screens as well as the shading devices on the circular volume.

The omission of a fence or enclosure around the circular volume allows it to negotiate the corner gently and creates a public plaza in front of the main entrance to the building. In this way, the public entrance to the building is emphasized.

The NamibRe Head Office contributes a unique aesthetic to a neighborhood that is arguably the most dynamic and fastest growing section of Windhoek. In general, the NamibRe head office blends into its urban fabric without much effort and proudly proclaims its uniqueness as well as it's connection to the Namibian culture, while remaining un- compromisingly modern.

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.