Ahlibank Head Office

Ahlibank Head Office

Architecte
Wael Al-Masri Planners & Architects
Lieu
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman | View Map
Année du projet
2014
Catégorie
Bureaux
©Wael Al-Masri

Ahlibank Head Office

Wael Al-Masri Planners & Architects en tant que Architectes.

This project is a result of winning an international design competition, based on its demonstrated relevance to the Omani context.The Ahlibank Head Office building utilizes state of the art design approaches and technologies creating an intelligent, ecological, and economic building with efficient services, and green design. This is a four stories high building including a basement, on an 11,000 m² site in Bousher area, Muscat. Floor layouts create an ideal working environment planned around a large longitudinal atrium that occupies the heart of the building, with direct views across the floor spaces offering a memorable experience for customers, visitors, and staff.

photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri
photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri

Architectural Planning and Expression:

The project planning is based on a modular system for offices and furniture and maintains an efficient usable area versus gross built-up area. Services are centralized and are located in defined places on all floors for better servicing. The open plan allows for maximum flexibility in internal layout arrangements. The design provides easy circulation through straight corridor runs and several elevators and stairs. The architectural concept is expressed in a high-techcontemporary language. Solid stone walls are juxtaposed with expanses of curtain glass walls, steel structures and skylights, assembled into a composition of the masses and volumes that define the different functional components. This is further highlighted through the dramatic lighting of the exterior and the interior public spaces. Visual references to traditional architecture are included in the form of Islamic geometric patterns applied in certain areas such as the glazed main entrance façade to add a local cultural accent to an otherwise modern architectural expression.

photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri
photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri

The Nature Narrative

The project image is inspiredby the natural mountainous Omani landscapes, especially that this site is overwhelmed by the powerful presence of a chain of mountains. The dominant use of Omani stone for the facades, together with the landscaped areas both inside and outside, reflect the dramatic contrast between the verticality of the mountain chains, and the delicate layers of palm groves and water features – aflaj, forming the vital oases around which many Omani villages grew at the foot of these mountains.The long atrium spine is directed towards the mountains, creating a symbolic relationship between the building and its setting. The atrium roof heightens the oasis narrative through the tall round steel columns with their tree-shaped capitals that carry a glass and steel roof structure which allows natural light and creates exciting shadows all over the space throughout the day, evoking the foliage of trees and palm fronds. 

photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri
photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri

Sustainable Design Measures

Sustainable design is supported by locating the building in the corner of the site, which is aimed at reducing development footprint, allowing more parking spaces and direct accessibility for vehicles, maximizing opportunities for creating quality views for building occupants and minimizing disturbance of construction activity and its associated operations. Building massing takes advantage of environmental and site factors, while façades design and fenestration, and careful window to wall ratio respond to building orientation to provide daylighting and views aimed at increasing workers productivity while decreasing electrical loads. The sky-lit atrium space allows movement around and through it vertically and horizontally, with inner terraces forming places of rest, finished with high reflectance interior surfaces, offering extended views of the atrium space, the inner workplaces as well as the distant mountains. Landscape design employs aspects of xeriscaping, reducing irrigation requirements while utilizing recycled water for irrigation, and using adaptive and native plants, minimizing turf grass areas, as well as choosing light-color permeable paving for sidewalks and other hardscape areas to improve rainwater management and decrease heat island effect, and providing shaded parking areas.

photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri
photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri

State-of-the-art Technologies

The project utilizes state-of-the-art engineering measures providing an intelligent, ecological, and economic building with efficient services, communication systems, security systems, fire alarm system and the use of raised flooring throughout the building. It includes highly efficient HAVC systems and high U-value glazing, as well as Building Management Systems to ensure effective monitoring while reducing manpower costs. Essentially, theses building systems optimally work in an economically integrated fashion to best suit the Ahlibank staff needs through the use of latest technologies available in the market.

photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri
photo_credit ©Wael Al-Masri
©Wael Al-Masri

The Hybrid Identity; between the Local and the Global

The architecture of the Ahlibank reflects the identity of the Bank itself in the way it presents itself as a trustful “solid” and “advanced” institution which is both “local” and “global”. It provides its customers with an inviting experience from the moment they arrive into the front landscaped plaza through the welcoming main entrance with its grand canopy, all the way into the atrium space and beyond to the particular offices and banking areas. We have endeavored to create a particularly comfortable and enjoyable “working place” of internationaloffice standards,while simultaneouslymaking staff feel at “home”, providing customers with confidence in their bank, and giving all users a sense of pride and belonging. 

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