The Namibian landscape is flooded with opportunity. The three soon-to-be launched regional study and resource centres provided a chance to build in harmony with the landscape and to increase the opportunity for community development and interaction. The centres are located in Oshakati, Helao Nafidi and Gobabis. The latter is close to the Botswana border and the former two are close to the Angolan border. Each centre is specifically designed to accommodate the community’s needs and the surrounding environment. The aim is to provide low-maintenance, resource-rich, energy-efficient centres that offer additional services beyond that of a library, but that extend to accommodating business needs.

Achieving the detail and intricate brief was no small feat. The design was carefully thought out within the framework of sustainability, funding and resource availability. The Sustainable Environmental Architecture (Search) team, formed and led by Nina Maritz, took on the project initiated by the Namibian government and funded by the US Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

The key sustainability features include:

  • Grid connected PV array
  • Solar shading
  • Evaporative cooling
  • Zero or low VOC paints and finishes
  • Locally made shading and furniture from invasive timber
  • North orientation
  • Double storey for a reduced footprint
  • Indigenous landscaping
  • Steel-floated concrete
  • Waterless urinals


* Read the full feature in the October-November 2013 issue. Images: Maryke Maree