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Out of Africa

Michael Zenner, the German Ambassador in Algeria, is still receiving his guests in the pleasant environment of Tifariti Garden in Algiers. This is where the ambassador and his staff will have to stay until the end of 2018, when they can move into the new Embassy building on the Bay of Algiers.

Architecture is one of the areas where the German Embassy in Algiers has its own ideas. The architects who eventually won the tender were the international team at KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten. The planners were faced with the challenge of reconciling two aspects: “the desire to express our national identity and the duty to create a building that meets the urban planning regulations of the City of Algiers”. Engel and his team are very familiar with the regional customs of this biggest country on the African continent. After all, KSP is building, among other things, the world’s third biggest mosque in the Bay of Algiers.

Outwardly the future multi-storey embassy building will be cubic in shape. When KSP designed the building envelope, they focused not only on the design, but also to a major extent on the local climate and on seismic conditions.  High temperatures and an awkward angle of the sun considerably impact the indoor climate and thus also the working conditions of the embassy staff. The entire building envelope of the embassy will need to withstand significant climatic strain, while also being flexible in absorbing temperature-dependent and seismic deformations. To solve this problem, KSP asked the GIP Group to help with their expertise.

Out of Africa– in Braunschweig and Leipzig – GIP staff developed a mounted, ventilated façade with an ensemble of different facing bricks, designed specially for the new embassy building. The complex envelope also has special bullet-resistant façade panels, doors and windows that form part of the cubic shape, but in a way that is inconspicuous and organic. As an innovative feature, electrochromic glass was used for the transparent mullion-transom façades. The dimmable solar control glass guarantees thermal protection in the summer, offers a high level of user convenience and allows a spectacular view at all times, without causing glare. What benefits the architecture of the building is that there is no need for mechanical shading systems. 

Maybe this building will be just as much of an award winner and arouse as much fascination as the epoch-making film whose title we borrowed for this article. We’ll let you know in our GIP Magazine. 

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