customs office is located at Victoria Falls, which being one of the seven naturals wonders of the world, receives a lot of tourists that visit both sides. The new structure would be built in the location of the current customs office, which is right past the bridge spanning the Zambezi river.
Click here to see images of Victoria Falls
Nature is used in numerous ways to enhance the design. One way is a cooling element. The condensation of plants and with breezes will cool an area. Shrubs and trees assisst with the transition in and out of the structure. The trellace supports vines which will help with shading from the sun and protection from rain.
The existing building is a non-discrete concrete block structure. The flow goes both ways with the customs officials in the center. The big problem is that there is only one door each way, which when busy creates large bottlenecks
The design goals became to design a beautiful structure built in the vernacular that would showcase traditional architecture and work efficientely.
To be efficient the design needed to allow people to enter and not to become bottlenecked. The analogy of a funnel came into play because it works just like what was needed.
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This page explains some of the reasoning behind the design. From initial concept ideas, construction thoughts to what the design is intended to achieve.
The designs have not been engineered they are.. what this author believes to be possible within limits.
A slight curve was introduced to help with the flow of people especially when lines form. The first que would have the longest line.
Due to the nature of how a customs office works, traffic needs to flow in both directions. This initial form was simply mirrored to the other side.
The next step was to frame the roof. A center wall was considered but deemed impractical because a wall would cut the buiding in half. The better option would be to implement a truss.
To support the truss, towers on each side were added. This supprt would be walls and the interior spaces would be utilized as offices.
The conceptual sketch on the left indicates the public vs. office spaces. The conceptual was then worked out with roof framing and wall hieghts to get the actual model on the right.
Use of Nature
Sitting spaces are an important element in this design. Not only are there travelers with heavy bags, there also is trade between the countries. Sitting spaces provide a rest. The areas highlighted in red are all desined sitting spaces.
Planters were placed at the entry and exit of the customs house. This was intende to help with the transition in and out as well as an aestic value.
Bay windows were added not only to allow some natural light into the design, but also as an element to break up the roof line.
The trellace offers transition as well as partial coverage from the sun and rain.