Formerly known as Port Amelia, Pemba is the northernmost coastal city of Mozambique, 300 km from the border with Tanzania. Capital of the Province of Cabo Delgado, this city with pop. 200,000, draws most of its economic activity from the logistic services connected with the LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) facility being built in the nearby township of Palma and expedited via its deep waters port.
The project is an ensemble of three single-use 9-storey buildings —residential and offices—, located on the busy intersection of Xai avenue, connecting to the beaches and the city centre, and the state road EN106, connecting to the airport and the port. Given the prominence of this corner and the height of the buildings, making them easily identifiable anywhere in the city even from afar, the design seeks a certain status of landmark by its abstract composition.
The three buildings —one with a longer rectangular plan and the two others with square plans—, are positioned to form an inward square sheltered from the surrounding air and noise pollution with services and convenience retail. The buildings are sequentially perched on a podium at different heights, following the slope of the terrain and the contiguous street.
The construction system has been devised to be built mainly through simple assemblage and have minimal maintenance. A repetitive shading system of vertical GRC louvers facing a solid brick wall and held floor-to-floor onto a concrete slab protruding 25 cm to 45 cm according to sun exposure, creates a powerful image able to absorb defects, errors and potential alterations, appends or affixes that so often happen in this type of development. The identity of each block is granted by the light colour pigment of these louvers, which are respectively green, salmon and beige.