The 1st Congress Tower is a distinctive office development populating the skyline of Luanda, Angola’s capital city. Designed by Luanda-based CostaLopes, the 41000 sqm tower is largely rectilinear rising to 27 floors with a peculiar facade that features tapering horizontal ‘cornices’ which add character to the otherwise, monolithic vertical volume of steel and glass.
According to the Costalopes website, the rationale behind the design revolves around four fundamental conditions:
the program for a banking institution – corporate and generic offices but with a socio-cultural area – with an inevitable intensive occupation of the available plot;
the prime location in Largo Lumeji, with its strong public profile, one of the joints in the city’s urban expansion from the downtown;
the near context, rapidly changing and unpredictable, with general verticalization and space closure;
the will to safeguard or even increase, a priori, the public space of the city.
In response, the project summarizes four key steps.
Within the plot size, one organizes a prismatic volume of 27 floors with a width of around 30 meters and a height of 110 meters above the ground, with five underground floors for parking.
The office tower is lifted off the ground, resting on stilts, which three floors void, transparent and more articulated, organizes the socio-cultural areas (bank branch, auditorium and art gallery, supported by a cafeteria), expanding and qualifying the public space of Largo Lumeji.
The tower rationalizes 18 floors of equipped open-space offices interrupted by 4 technical floors and topped by two floors for administration.
Finally, the expression of the tower results from the programmatic contingency, striated floor to floor, with recessed glazed fronts and opaque cornices, protruding and undulating. Very elegant.
Day or night, even with the surrounding verticalization, the 1st Congress Tower gets strong aesthetic and urban autonomy, without disregarding the ethics of the public space. At distance, by its strong visual identity. By near, with its inherent constructive quality and, above all, the openness of inner and outer spaces of the ground floors, delivering space for the public use of citizens.