It has been amazing to be part of the WAF award winning team. When you look across the range and quality of projects put forward for the WAF Awards, to be short listed and then become associated with the overall winner is a momentous achievement for Grant Associates.
Director - Grant Associates
Date posted: 23/10/08
Of all building types, towers might seem least capable of responding to the nuances of local conditions. The familiar image of the glass prosthetic stump grafted on to cities from Dallas to Dubai is an omnipresent reality, but as this concluding session in the Height series of seminars showed, it is possible to devise a new sort of high rise that is neither simplistically derived from local sources, nor an imposition of an anodyne and anonymous international style. Villaggio 2, by London-based AHMM (pictured), brings residential high rise, itself a novelty, to the centre of Accra. The challenges are multifarious – a hot, humid, equatorial climate and limited construction technology, but as Paul Monaghan explained, AHMM cunningly synthesises the global with the local, drawing inspiration from Ghanaian kente cloth to create a colourful, rhythmic facade, and transforming traditional courtyards into shaded sky gardens attached to individual flats.
Albert Taylor, of structural engineers Adams Kara Taylor, also showed how the different skills of local building contractors could be turned to practical advantage. In hot, dry Riyadh, US practice Perkins + Will encounters similar challenges of extreme climate modification in their project for the Albirr Tower. Design director Rob Goodwin described how hanging gardens pirouette vertically around inside an elegant partially glazed tower which is screened and veiled by a complex layered facade. So at last the international stump is dead. Long live local responsivity.