MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND TOURISM
Dr Kenneth Kaunda Street, Windhoek, Namibia
The alterations and additions to the Phillip Troskie Hostels to accommodate a new Head Office for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, presented the architects with unique challenges. The hostels was originally designed to accommodate railway workers of the old South West African Railway service and was thus not suitable for use as offices.
The existing hostel blocks were gutted and renovated extensively to accommodate offices for general staff and the old recreation hall and kitchen/ mess was demolished and a new wing added for the executive and conference facilities.
Great care was taken in the making of functional, thermally comfortable office space, which is predominantly lit by sunlight and most importantly, was economically and environmentally sustainable through the re-use of existing structures. Through doing so, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism managed to maintain a relatively small carbon footprint and made a small environmental impact.
This building introduces an Afro-orientated design approach, which embodies a cultural and contextual relevance in its outlook through materiality, form and treatment of facade. The colour pallet was inspired by colours commonly found in the Namibian landscapes, mountains, desert, and fauna and flora. Motifs on the facade directly emulate pigeonholes, but innovatively integrate with modern long strip openings to get differential innovative light patterns internally.
The design is forward-looking; resulting in a unique character both visually and physically. Modest material selection was of prime importance to minimize project cost and also achieves a successful blending with its surroundings.
This large-scale refurbishment proudly represents Namibian Architecture in the 21st century.