ZM Operations Building
The ZM Operations Building is located in the southwest corner of a fuel tank terminal in the industrial district of Lusaka, Zambia. An intense and chaotic traffic of trucks, vans, and bicycles runs along the unpaved road that gives access to the plot. The dynamic activity of this pathway becomes visible inside the plot through a permeable fence. The project aims to open the parcel to the street and back, showing its activity towards the exterior.
The building is a squared floor block which alternates opaque and transparent facades, placing each lining in contiguous faces. As a result, the vision areas are on the East-West axis on the ground floor, while on the first floor they are aligned according to the North-South axis. The resulting elevations offer large opaque fronts on the access sides, and largely glazed fronts in the adjacent elevations to illuminate the workspaces. On the ground floor, two platforms generated by the setback of the glass façade are projected, while on the first floor these glass fronts offer a terrace that can be used for informal meetings.
On the ground floor, compression occurs, and the sight is focused on the immediate environment. The view from the upper level is focused on the fuel terminal on one side and to the adjacent road on the other. The views from this floor are connected with the horizon rather than with the immediate environment.
An enclosure formed by large Z-sections of aluminum refers to the industrial environment while reacting to the reflections and brightness of its nearby environment. The stormy weather of Lusaka makes the perception of the building very changeable. In a matter of minutes, the structure may be outlined against an intense blue sky emphasizing its vibrant skin or may be blurred in the heavy gray of storm clouds.
The surrounding vegetation is proposed as a transitional space between the industrial environment and workspace. The building is located next to a large tree located in the southwest corner which articulates the area around the building and gives it a more welcoming and friendly quality, linked with the exuberant nature of the country.