An intriguing proposal for an office building in Benin City, Edo State recently caught our eye. Designed in 2012 by Michael Moran of St.Louis based MTM Design, the proposal is intended to be the new base of operations for Obax Worldwide Ltd, a Nigerian conglomerate with business interests in the Oil and Gas sector as well as a number of others.
The design is modern and contextual, veering slightly from the typical box of glass and steel to a more textured, concrete and glass structure offering a subdued tropical character with an engaging form. Here’s a description from MTM Design, Our assignment was to provide facility programming, a schematic design solution including architecture and preliminary building service systems, and bridging documents for the client’s use in obtaining proposals from Nigerian design-build teams. Our discrete objectives: to provide a facility that is responsive to Obax’s current and future needs, to develop a programmatically and aesthetically superior solution, to provide a design that is economically constructible in a technologically developing construction market, and to provide an operationally efficient building. The proposed design solution reflects the internal quality standards and the significant emerging corporate brand identity of Obax in the international marketplace.
The project provides a state-of-the-art administration facility that will support both regional and international business operations from the urban center of Benin City. The location will conveniently supplement Obax industrial headquarter facilities some 45 kilometers distant in the Niger River delta. The business needs identified have been accommodated in approximately 50,000 square feet of gross measured area.
In satisfying this building program, the design must also solve many conflicting and competing factors associated with the building site. While complementary and synergetic to Obax’s larger industrial campus, the site is extremely confined and narrow for a project of the scale envisioned. With a total site area of approximately 1190sqm and a scale limit of 5 stories above grade, the site must necessarily be developed to its maximum potential leaving no open area of significant scale. The infrastructure of civil utilities servicing the site is highly limited. Adjacent lots are developed with structures of significantly smaller scale and lesser quality. These constraints provide a challenging context within which to build, and have helped to inspire an innovative and technically robust building design.
MtM Design has provided a solution that will present a strong, definitively contemporary presence in the city; a structure that will, through the building form and its details, reflect Obax’s unique forward-thinking business approach as well as the solidity of its successes.