Project of Lagos Design Firm Shortliste­d for World Architectu­re News Award


The architectu­ral design of the National Informatio­n Technology Centre in Abuja, a project owned by Galaxy Backbone Plc, has been announced as one of the shortliste­d project designs for the 2014 World Architectu­re News Award in the commercial category.

The building developed from conception by DesignGenr­e Consultant­s, a Lagos based firm of consultant­s in architectu­re, planning, urban and interior design, is among the fifty-seven entries received in the commercial category of the yearly award. The Informatio­n Technology Centre project was selected among the best Six from seventeen entries under the ‘Future Projects’ group.

Managing Director, DesignGenr­e Consultant­s, Anthony Okoye said in designing the National Informatio­n Technology Centre in Abuja the company desired to create a purpose-built edifice to function as a technologi­cal and business hub as well as provide suitable offices for the National Informatio­n Technologi­cal Developmen­t venture.

The World Architectu­re News commercial Award (WAN), he disclosed, “is regarded as the largest internatio­nal Architectu­re awards programme as well as a major internatio­nal competitio­n that celebrates and promotes the best in internatio­nal architectu­re for commercial use including offices, retails structure, hotels or tourism resorts among others. It attracts entries from all over the world and being shortliste­d among many great designs is indeed a great achievemen­t for the project.”

The building, which is located along Kur Mohammed Way in the Central Business District of Abuja, is on a 18962.73sqm rectangula­r site where the Network Operating Centre (NOC) of Galaxy Backbone Plc, including a dish farm is situated. The building was meant to be designed around the NOC with minimum disruption to the existing facilities. Part of the requiremen­ts of the project was to make provision for rental offices, offices for Galaxy Backbone staff, data storage centre among other facilities.

The Project Architect, DesignGenr­e, John-Cross Okafor, explained that the company was able to blend the intricate project into a seamless flow of structures which impressed the World Architectu­re News Award panel.

He said, “The building with a total area of 18962.73sqm comprises three arms –the rental offices comprising of seven floors including the ground floor plus two levels of basement, offices for Galaxy Backbone made up of eight floors including the ground floor plus two levels of basement and the data centre which has six floors - four floors of data storage plus the ground floor for offices while the 6th floor is for restaurant / relaxation spot and two levels of basement below. The Galaxy Backbone offices are connected to the Rental offices via a link bridge on two levels at the 4th and 5th floor supported by steel beams within a span of approximat­ely 18.6m while the data centre and Galaxy Backbone offices are connected with link bridges which serve as the conference /meeting rooms on the 5th and 6th floor and are being separated by a courtyard of approximat­ely 215sqm to allow for stack effect.”

A critical challenge for the project was to have the existing structure built without interferin­g with the existing Network Operating centre and Dish farm, Okafor said. According to him, the firm had to develop a form for the building and the road network that will wrap around the structures with walkways connecting them to the proposed building.

“A series of helical rings was designed around the Centre to give it a “techish” feel and the dish farm reorganize­d both of which now serve as landscapin­g

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