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Kintele Congress Center, designed by Avcı Architects, reinterprets local patterns in order to meet the climatic conditions of the site.

The congress center is in a newly developing area of Brazzaville, to the north of the new Olympic Center. The site has panoramic 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 the island of M’Bamaou in the foreground. The buildings are located parallel to the contours of this valley leaning towards the river. The positioning of the Congo Kintele Congress Center’s buildings is largely defined by this topography where excessive excavation and shifting of earth away from the site were avoided. 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) are placed linearly, interrupted by courtyards. They are all accessible by a sheltered public colonnade that links these elements.

The 350 meter long colonnade shelters people from the rain that prevails most of the year. The two ends of the colonnade act as public gates to the whole complex. Attached to this public colonnade are the press hall to the western gate and the 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. This open space is also sheltered from the rain with a square oculus that allows the rain to fall into a shallow pool at its center.

Another aspect of the local tropical climate is the constant presence of the high level humidity which makes use of natural ventilation difficult and the use of air-conditioning of public spaces essential for comfort conditions. In this case the design aims to minimize the cooling loads by reducing the incidence of sunlight on exposed glass facades. Thus glazing is always deeply set in to the façade on the north (in this case it is actually the true north façade which receives the midday sun due to the location of the site below the equator) and low sunlight from the east and west is minimized by vertical shading elements and perforated metal screens.

The use of materials in the Congo Kintele Congress Center were to a large extent dictated by the requirement of speed of construction, and availability of modern construction and cladding materials. Thus although it would be more cost effective, concrete frame was ruled out in favor of steel and more easily transportable lighter cladding materials were preferred. Beyond that efforts were made to use natural materials, such as timber and stone.

The congress center is signified by a series of perforated cladding elements which are laser cut in geometric Congolese patterns derived from the traditions of the larger region. These patterns connect the buildings to their context. At times they are also utilized in the interiors such as floor patterns and divider screens which divide interior spaces. Vertical shading elements have a lighter colored bronze/brass finish, set against a background of larger darker colored panels and glass. The overall color palette of the project is derived from a series of lighter and darker shades of bronze and brass.

Photography: © Emre Dörter

Client: The Republic of Congo
Architect: Avcı Architects
Design team: Selçuk Avcı, Deniz Nar, Arda Can Buze, Koray Tokdemir, Özge Öztürk, Tuğba Öztürk, Özgür Kayabay, Tuba Şehitoğlu, Hande Yarımbıyık, Gizem Saka Çakıroğlu, Deren Uysal, Egemen Karakaya, Serhat Aksu, Tolgahan Akbulut, Ezgi Halisçelik, Zehranur Güçmen
Interiors: Avcı Architects
Landscape architect: Sahara Peyzaj
Main contractor: Summa Turizm Yatırımcılığı
Structural engineer: Emir Mühendislik
Mechanical engineer: Metta Mühendislik
Electrical engineer: EMT Elektrik
Infrastructure design: Ekiz & Ekiz Proje Danışmanlık
Fire consultant: Mustafa Özgünler
Acoustic consultant: Akustik İzolasyon Danışmanlık
Lighting design: On/Off Aydınlatma Tasarım
Signage and graphics: Avcı Architects
Product: Şişecam Temperable Solar Control Low-E Glass Neutral 50/33