Architect: Tabanlıoglu architects
Location: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
The Sipopo Congress Centre is a 13,800 m2 double storied structure that contains three gathering spaces, a restaurant and a main central hall. The building has unparalleled views of the forest on one side and the ocean at the other. The Sipopo centre is part of an oceanside development on the capital city’s north-eastern edge that also includes a cluster of hotels and recently built infrastructure. Aimed to develop as a diplomatic resort, the new Centre will be the core of the presidential zone and will host exclusive meetings in harmony with nature.
There is a true conceptual sense of transparency with the incorporation of a veiled cladding that has been distanced away from the unframed curtain wall.
It aims to provide a continuous surface for the encompassing nature to reflect within the glass. The glass wall systems also allows for a maximum viewing area, with no horizontal or vertical mullions to obstruct the vision towards the ocean.
Each space is uniquely designed with reference to local sources, such as the geometric motives of African tradition on the walls of the lobby.
The double storied block is encased within a semi-transparent metal mantle that shields the building from excessive sunlight. Through the positioning of metal panes at different levels and angles, the façade is regarded as an array of differential geometric alignments, paralleling the colours, tones and motions of the winds and waves. The lacy texture of the mesh behaves like sun-break and grants a shady interior without hindering the accent of transparency. In addition it also gives the feeling of floating by the vast sea and the breeze gliding through the leaves.
Malabo, the capital and the second largest city of Equatorial Guinea is located on the northern coast of BiokoIsland. The Sipopo Congress Centre building, which was completed in 2011, is situated by the ocean and surrounded by the woods. The project is designed to take advantage of all the natural externalities that the project is susceptible to. The sunny coastline integrates well with the design’s ideals of transparency and shadow work. The architects have also taken inspiration from ocean movements to structure out the geometrical elements of the project’s facade.