07.04.2017 Construction

Out of Africa

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Michael Zenner, German ambassador to Algeria, currently receives guests at the Tifariti Garden in Algiers. The ambassador and his staff will have to wait until the end of 2018 before they can move into the new embassy building on the Bay of Algiers.

The German Embassy in Algiers is also breaking new ground in terms of architecture. KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten's international team came out on top in an architectural competition. Planners were challenged to take two aspects into account: "The desire to express our national identity and the commitment to creating a building which respects the city of Algiers' urban planning guidelines." Engel and his team are no strangers to the regional customs of Algeria. Another of KSP's current projects in the Bay of Algiers is to be the world's third largest mosque.

The exterior of the planned multi-storey embassy building will form a cube. When designing the building shell, KSP paid close attention not only to design but also to the seismic and climate conditions on-site. High temperatures and an unfavorable angle of the sun can have a severe impact on the working conditions of embassy employees. Hence, the entire building envelope of the embassy building needs to withstand the climate demands and also smoothly accommodate temperature-related and seismic deformations. The GIP group was asked for their expertise to tackle exactly this problem.

Out of Africa, in Leipzig, BENEDICT + RIVA employees devised a ventilated curtain wall with an array of different facade bricks specially designed for the new embassy building. Part of the complex building shell included special bullet-resistant facades, doors, and windows, which were organically and inconspicuously integrated into the building's shape. One further innovative feature was the addition of electrochromic glass to the transparent mullion and transom facades. The dimmable solar glass offers thermal protection in summer, high comfort for users, lower air-conditioning costs, and an impressive view free of glare at all times. It was possible to completely dispense with the use of traditional shading systems much to the benefit of the overall architectural impression.

Only time will tell whether the building will be showered with accolades and generate as much excitement as the film whose title we have borrowed for this article.

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