Sakoian International, LLC |

Credit Agricole

PROJECT: Credit Agricole

LOCATION: Cairo, Egypt

FIRM: H2L2 Architects & Planners, Philadelphia, PA

PIC: Barry Eiswerth

PD: John Michael Sakoian, Jr.

DESCRIPTION: This corporate headquarters was designed as a workplace but also as a sustainable desert dwelling. Harnessing daylight and connectivity to the desert surroundings was a key component to the design. Through the planning of both indoor and outdoor courtyards, the design creates a workplace that is both interactive, collaborative and thriving. To promote health and vitality in the workplace, a central interior garden or “oasis” planning strategy is utilized. A variety of program spaces surrounds and encapsulates the large open space from the harsh desert environment.

The building entry is tucked into a deep recess allowing the above level to hover over the desert providing an entry plaza that is always protected by the sun and desert winds. The entry feeds into the interior garden with planting and gathering spaces among cascading pools. A large solar screen provides daylighting and solar harvesting. The screen and roof assembly provides a dual roof system allowing prevailing winds to pass between thus keeping the primary roof protected from direct solar gain.

Large open spaces allow air to move freely allowing warm air to exit the roof while passively drawing cool air from around the underground parking and mechanical facility. Glazing and ventilation in the primary roof allows consistent ambient light to enter the space but also permits building heat to escape by stack effect as desert winds pass through the two roof systems.

Indigenous rock flooring and wall finishes provide sufficient thermal mass which helps regulate indoor air temperatures. Vertical solar screens permit daylight and views while passively controlling direct solar gain during the extreme hours of the day. A level above the lobby, meeting rooms and private offices have access and views into a secondary exterior courtyard or “winter garden”. This winter garden provides a private, outdoor experience into an otherwise deep floor plate.