Location: Windhoek, Namibia
Client: Namibia Legal Practioners’ Trust
Main Contractor: Namibia Construction
Located on a landlocked site on Windhoek’s Independence Avenue, the Namlex Chambers office complex for the Namibian Legal Practitioners’ Trust is very much a reflection of its urban context conceptually: apart from responding boldly to the role of ‘corner’ building by virtue of its height and in the manner it acknowledges the major vehicular junction with John Meinert Street, it also serves as sensitive architectural infill along a street façade comprised of mainly two- and three-storey buildings.
Namlex Chambers not only succeeds in reinforcing the existing urban node as defined by the surrounding urban landscape, but the curvilinear plan of its office tower is a gesture that affords occupants panoramic views of the nearby magistrates and high courts in acknowledgement of the formal relationship existing between these institutions and the legal fraternity.
The economics of utilising the ground floor as commercial space – and of locating the parking floors above ground – dictated the use of a podium floated on columns with glazed shop fronts behind. The podium height matches that of its 2 – 3 storey neighbours. In the planning stages, the practical need for a central building core in relation to the five-storey office tower competed strongly with the commercial sense of utilising the full street frontage: a right-of-way vehicular access from the rear was negotiated to circumvent the problem of the already restricted street frontage.
The office tower lay-out is organized around a central building core, thereby keeping the area dedicated to primary circulation to a minimum. Cellular offices are arranged along the north, east, and south façades, with open office space provided at the rear of the building.
Despite the site’s prominent east orientation onto Independence Avenue, it was possible to utilise a north-south orientation for the office tower. Recessed windows, canopies, and the use of horizontal sun louvres along the north and east façades, provide the necessary sun-control without sacrificing the occupants’ views. The western façade has no fenestration except for a light-well.
Office space is air-conditioned while the parking garages are ventilated by natural means.
Namlex Chambers was completed well below budget. It was granted an Award of Merit (Highly Recommended) by the Namibia Institute of Architects in 1999.