The Founder and Principal Partner of Towry Coker and Associates, Arc. Dr. Lanre Towry-Coker, an author, and one of Nigeria most creative architect, says office complex must strive to not only create architectural statements but also offer aesthetically outstanding designs that consistently remind workers of the remarkable experience at work at all times
With an estimated N200bn expected to be spent on office complex construction in the Nigeria alone in 2014 a commitment to pushing the boundaries of building design in the retail sector presents an exciting challenge for built environment professionals, and opportunities for third party suppliers.
Although features such as elevators, staircases, doorways and other functional and logistical elements within large scale office complex can be viewed as necessities, it may be better to consider them as opportunities. Towry Cokers Associates (TCA), according to the founding partners, Arc. Lanre Towry-Coker, approaches large scale retail projects as a challenge to transform the everyday into the exceptional. Everything from the layout to the ﬁnish of an office complex must be designed to ensure workers would feel exceptionally at home while at work and would always dream of going back to works making the aesthetics vital for drawing workers to an optimal performance level, even within the break time.
It can be just as exciting to design for an individual private office building as with commercial office complex.
Projects that initially seem impossible are very often not, and in many cases can result in the most exceptional end results. Helping architects realise the potential of their designs makes being ﬂexible in the way it works paramount for a project owners and supplier.
By guaranteeing levels of support and partnership throughout a project, from pre-tender stage, through concept, designing and build to completion and delivery, architects can specify unique materials while suppliers can produce distinctive designs that become synonymous with the building in its environment.
TCA is committed to creating designs which will become an architectural focal point in their own right, combining bold design, high quality materials and practicality to emanate its passion for engineering extraordinary products.
However, it is also vital to keep in mind that an office complex is at its heart a commercial enterprise, meaning that third parties must work quickly to produce the very best end product whilst coming in on budget, ensuring that the building can be access easily, especially in a place like Lagos.
Designing for the high-end customers, sometimes could be tasking, especially with the growing technology, in terms of building materials and the emergence of major architectural masterpieces in the middle east and china, TCA’s task of creating masterpiece for the F F. Millennium Tower, Victoria Island, Lagos is one project the firm will not want to forget in a hurry. A range of standard designs or products, were put together so as to create the design that will suit the environment and the client’s requirement. This is couple with the method of accurately estimating cost and construction time as well as guaranteeing the level of ﬁnish..
During the construction we were conscious of the fact that the complex is aimed at attracting the high-end clientele and tenants so the design was done with the aim to entice more that class.
During the construction of the complex great care is taken to create a light, spacious environment – characteristics which are essential for the free movement.
In retail environments practical considerations must share priority with visual impact by taking into consideration available height, product routing as well as worker ﬂow.
During the creation of F. F. Millennium Tower, practicality was a particularly vital consideration as the elevators and alternative staircase had to be easy for staff to use when moving goods as well as a feature that would entice customers to explore the entire space.
Environmental factors are also essential. Only materials which can cope with the environment for which they are destined should be used and this must be given close consideration.
For example, while glass can help to create a spectacular design, when it is used as a surface which will be walked on it is not practical in every setting. For example, glass treads on staircases which are outside, leading to an office complex, in regions which experience large amounts of rain or frost might become slippery.
In this case other materials such as steel, concrete or natural stone, which can have grip incorporated or provide increased grip simply by their nature could be more practical.
After all, safety in large scale public buildings is paramount and must be a primary focus of any third party when they design, build and install ﬁxtures in such environments.
However instead of considering safety a constraint on design it should be considered a challenge for designers to create a captivating design which is safe to use.
Although each office complex is developed with an individual style, which must be eye-catching, it is third parties who must create this vision, whilst taking into account practical issues ranging from cost to safety and impact on the workers.
By its very nature, TCA designs include features which enrich the environment, make a statement and arouse curiosity that encourages worker to explore as well as continuing to draw them in time and time again.
The ways in which this can be done are limitless, making a commitment to delivering outstanding design essential.
To the founder of TCA Arc. Lanre Towry-Coker, who has trained over 150 architects since the establishment of the practice, architecture is quite distinguished and only the best can practice it because there can never be room for mistakes.
According to him, if an architect makes mistake it stares at him, be it 15 to 20 story building, if it looks ugly the building will continue to stare at you and there is nothing you can do about it. I therefore call on all architects to always put up a design that make sense in terms of aesthetics to conform with the environment.