The Mauritius Commercial Bank building
Jean-Francois Koenig Architect - Mauritius
The Mauritius Commercial Bank building is situated in Mauritius, in the centre of the island next to the main motorway in new manicured landscaped gardens of approximately six acres. The elliptical shaped building is designed to meet accommodation needs for up to 750 staff. Contained in the underbelly of the building whose shape facilitates raked seating, are two auditoriums seating 275 and 20 respectively. The auditoriums are treated with precise acoustic design for speech and audience interaction. The fifth floor is dedicated to MCB’s training department designed to accommodate a further 100 seats for trainees and staff. The building can hold 1100 people at full capacity and is equipped with a state of the art kitchen that serves a canteen seating 250 people. The site contains 263 cars, plus additional parking bays for coaches and bicycles under a covered space. The plant rooms are situated on the lower levels, liberating the roof, traditionally loaded with heavy machinery, and allowing it to be light and airy with large spans of 15m and 18m, yielding column-free spaces, for better flexibility. Natural light through the roof fabric is achieved by five glass rings around the shell of the elliptical shape through double glazed portholes and glass rings. Natural light is maximised with full height double glazing on the True-North and True-South facades and sunlight is controlled by aluminium sunscreens which also act as maintenance walkways. Perforated internal blinds further control glare by being automatically operated by sun-sensors on the facades. The general lighting and air-conditioning system are designed for sustainable energy efficiency. Thermal storage enables free cooling and a reduction in energy consumption. The building has no false ceilings enabling the thermal mass of concrete to retain the cold and radiate to the floor below. Further savings are achieved with a photovoltaic cell farm producing 460 KW per day. Water consumption is reduced with electronic tap-flow control and urinals, low-flow showerheads and wc flushing cisterns. Grey water is collected in 4 large water tanks, the bases of which are the pile caps of the foundation of the 4 legs. It is used to flush wc's and urinals, fire fighting, topping up pool evaporation, car washing and garden watering. Further increase in grey water collection is achieved through wastewater filtration and recycling. Conditioned air is released from a raised floor plenum through which the electrical and electronic wiring also passes. No services are ceiling mounted, making changing seating arrangements and moving easy. Better flexibility increases the useful life of the building. The building is designed with the latest electronic “brains” control and visual systems. It is acoustically engineered to reduce sources of noise discomfort from the nearby motorway and plant rooms. The auditoriums are triple glazed for external noise exclusion. The cladding of the concrete shell is built-up with 50 mm thick non-flammable extruded polystyrene insulation, a 300 mm air gap and 8 mm thick metallic aluminium sandwich panels.
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