Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Congo Kintele Congress Centre in Kinshasa by AVCI ARCHITECTS
August 11th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: AVCI ARCHITECTS
The new Kintele Congress Centre and Resort Hotel (KCC) is in a newly developing area of Brazzaville, to the north of the new Olympic Centre. The site has panaromic views of the Congo River to the south and a forested unbuilt landscape to the north. The topography of the site is a valley carved out by the great Congo River which creates an island M’Bamaou in the foreground and the buildings sit parallel to the contours of this valley falling towards the river.
The positioning of the buildings on the site is largely dictated by this topography where we were concerned to minimise excessive excavation and shifting of earth away from the site. The larger objects of the programme: the 1500 seat Congress Hall, the 300 person Presidential Hall, the 1000 seat Banquet Hall and the 1000 person Public Piazza were placed in a line sequence interrupted by courtyards, and all reached by a public sheltered collonade that links these elements. The Hotel on the other hand is positioned 5 meters above this general public promenade, largely to give it better views to the river, while making a public / private segragation of functions on the site. All but two courtyards linking the enclosed volumes are accessible to the public, and allow us to form landscaped intermissions amongst the large masses of these functions. Thus the form of the KCC settles in to the landscape, avoiding the appearance of an out of scale overbearing large mass of buildings while providing views of the Congo River from all hotel rooms.
The 350 meter long collonade also acts as a linear public space in itself sheltering people from the ever present rain that prevails most of the year around in this part of the world. The two ends of the Collonade also act as public gates to the whole complex. Attached to this public collonade are the Press Hall to the Western gate and Museum to the Eastern gate. At this end the Museum forms the southern edge of the Piazza, while the shops and the Public Restaurant form the Northern and Eastern edges of the Piazza. This open space is also sheltered from the rain with a square occulus that allows the rain to fall in to a shallow pool at its centre.
For at least 6 months of the year rain is an everpresent climate phenomenon in Congo and defines the way people interact in public and with public space. Therefore great effort was made in this sense to shelter people while out in the open but to not distance from nature, and the presence of rain because while it is raining it is still very warm and ofcourse humid. There fore while it is important to shelter from rain it is also important to allow air to flow and cool such sheltered spaces. The presence of water is celebrated by making its fall from roofs visible and audible as it reaches the earth and fills open pools which take overflow from large roof areas using gargoyles and water falls.
Contact AVCI ARCHITECTS