The award winning FNB Wesbank building is an iconic architectural landmark located on the very busy N1 Western Bypass motorway in Johannesburg.
The office building was designed by a consortium of 4 architecture practices namely, MMA Design Studio, CNN Architects, MDS Architects and Fairbairn architects. Hailed as one of South Africa’s most energy efficient developments of its scale at the time of construction in 2009/2010, the building accomodates over 5000 people and cost a total of R1.3 billion to complete.
The FNB Wesbank building in the North of Johannesburg is an eclectic mix that resonates well with traditional African design tenets of amalgamated forms and landscapes which ultimately create a skin of intricate shells and forms that almost always seem to work together in acrimonious harmony. The idea was an attempt at modernizing African culture in a financial setting, borrowing from elements and systems that have long been perfected by indigenous African societies and traditions and simply expressing them with new materials and maintaining the judicious catholic ideologies that punctuate the style.
The result is an idea that’s whilst may need time to grow up on you, once it does, it undeniably sets its stage as a new style that can dominate the saturated expressions of African traditional architecture and transculturation of elements into coherent ideas. The glass seems to work well in the curvy ‘ drum’ feel and the lighting effects washes the interiors to avoid the eerie feels that bank buildings have been characterized with, a somewhat corporate tightness to spatial disposition.