The skyline of Lagos is changing. Driving around (mainly on ‘the island’) you get a sense of Dubai in its infancy with the number of tall buildings springing forth. From Bank Headquarters and Office Buildings to Hotels and Residential towers theres an increasing frequency with which concrete, steel and glass are reaching for the sky. An iconic example of such is the RAMZI TOWERS.
Designed by award winning, international design consultancy, SPARK, the Ramzi Towers is a major luxury residential tower development on Victoria Island (Before Nko!). With Construction beginning this month, the ‘RAMZI’ is spark’s first notable foray into the African Continent for the Nigerian Client Athena Capital Ltd. Their idea is to,
“…Set a new standard for luxury contemporary living in the powerful African Economy whose growth is attracting significant global investment”.
The Eighteen storey Tower was masterfully crafted to give 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding environs, from ‘downtown’ Lagos to the five Cowries Creek as well as the Lagos Lagoon out to the Atlantic Ocean.
The most prominent feature of the Tower is its Curved Shell envelope. To achieve this, a sprayed concrete process was selected and advanced in a bid to minimise cost and reduce construction time (so no alubond or mosaic tiles here. Thank God!). This singular sprayed concrete solution would provide a number of benefits ranging from Structure, water-proofing and air-tightness to fire protection with the curved form also helping to minimise wind resistance. This ‘simple’ process will be carried out on-site, cutting out the local contracting tradition that has been described as “not explicity high-tech”, but also empowering and enabling the local contractor to deliver the world’s tallest sprayed-concrete structure without outsourcing technical responsiblities.
Heres a good description of the form culled from the official website:
There are four vertical elements 1 – 4 of similar architectural language, all broadly triangular in plan, with sculpted corners. Seen from above, all four elements spring from the centre of the building, where the vertical core 5 is located. Three of these elements 2 – 4 are oriented towards the west, the fourth is oriented to the east 1, resulting in a ‘butterfly’-shape in plan. This unique form has the benefit of maximising the views from within each flat while providing highly individual apartment layouts. At the same time, the external ‘shells’ create distinctive surfaces facing the sun, both to the east and to the west and shield the ‘internal’ faces from solar gain. The eastern vertical element 1 at only 7 stories tall provides an extraordinary roof terrace at level 8. It is also raised from the ground by 7 metres to form a canopy to the car drop-off and main entrance located underneath. The three western elements 2 – 4 are stacked to form the eighteen storey main tower with stunning views in all directions
The design is unique one. Its a good juxtaposition of the African elements and aesthetic atop western technology and engineering which, quite frankly offers a structure that responds to the local setting, be that climate or socio-cultural factors. It has been described as
“a curvaceous African response to the global vernacular”,
A great description if I’ve ever seen one.
Going inside, each of the 22 apartments (3-bed, 4-bed and penthouse apartments) have been oriented to maximise daylighting while still remaining shielded from direct sunlight thanks to the distinctive curved shell and deep window reveals. They have been designed around a fairly large, open plan, central living area from where the promised panorama can be enjoyed. Living, Dining and other activity areas are all planned around a prefabricated kitchen hub, forming the core of the open plan living space. The Ensuite Bedrooms are sizeable, but seem a bit narrow (hospitality style) while the full option, Master Suites are well-designed with an adjoining master study.
Two dedicated lifts serve two apartments per floor (both 3 and 4 bedroom) from the ground to level 7, while apartments on Levels 8-12 (4 bedroom only) enjoy exclusivity to the lifts. At level 8 most especially, we find a beautiful roof terrace for communal entertainment but not exclusive to the floor (I think). These floors also enjoy an additional reception, aptly named the ‘morning’ rooms, as a result of its orientation that embraces the morning sun. Two duplex penthouses (for the richest of the rich presumably) crown off the tower with stunning views from their roof terraces.
There’s no doubt that this is a big first for the client as well the consultants. The Design is iconic, the engineering and methodology are innovative (somewhat) and the location couldn’t be better. Nigeria is no doubt on the cusp of global relevance and prominence of a positive nature, and Lagos being its economic capital is a great location for a project of this complexity and scale.
The Ramzi will reflect the potential of Lagos and the country as a whole as a major global economy, enhancing the domestic building and development industry. This is even more evident with the establishment of what has been described as “a shadow program”, where foreign skills and knowledge from the expatriate consultants are to be shared and transferred to young, local, Nigerian consultants. This is a big plus and if properly implemented and carried through would yield great dividends for the future of the allied professions within the country.
Architecture: SPARK Architects
Project Director: Max Titchmarsh
Team: Arnold Von Storp, Frankie Pringle, Ashley Gilbert
Client: Athena Capital Ltd
Engineering: Battle McCarthy
QS/PM: WT Partnership
Main Contractor: Deux Projects