International firm Henning Larsen Architects recently won a design competition for the new headquarters of the Central Bank of Libya in Tripoli. Although two large excavated areas dominate a portion of the existing site, the architects managed to turn that site challenge into an asset by drawing inspiration from the Libyan architectural vernacular. The environmentally friendly and culturally relevant bank headquarters design will act as a new symbol and social hub for Libya.
Henning Larsen Architects used the existing excavations found on site to inform their circulation design and architectural design. Inspired by the Berber underground cave dwellings, the architects dug into the land to connect the excavated areas and to take advantage of the earth’s natural temperature-regulating properties. The larger excavation will be transformed into a shaded oasis, as well as the compound’s social hub and public plaza. The submerged plaza will connect the Gurji neighborhood with the Green Belt of Tripoli.
The new office building that towers above the plaza is a cubic atrium structure that features a rippled facade to imitate the wavy lines of the desert sands. A symbol of Libyan power, the impressive building offers 360 degrees views out across Tripoli. To defend against the strong sun, the architects will wrap the building facade in a horizontal shading system that mitigates solar heat gain.
Images via Henning Larsen Architects