Dezeen Magazine

ARPT Headquarters by Mario Cucinella Architects

News: Italian firm Mario Cucinella Architects has won a competition to design a telecommunications agency headquarters in Algeria with proposals for a fin-like form referencing sand dunes and traditional Mediterranean architecture (+ slideshow).

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Mario Cucinella Architects also used the pointed arch typical in Islamic regions as a reference for the shape, which also resembles the dunes of the surrounding desert landscape.

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The building's form contributes to natural cooling by channeling hot winds over the convex surface of the north facade, while a concave wall on the opposite side helps draw in cool air at night.

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Occupying a location next to a major road and close to a new urban park on the outskirts of Algiers, the ARPT (Autorité de Régulation de la Poste et des Télécommunications) building is intended as "the reference point within a neighbourhood and a city where tradition and modernity merge".

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Turkish firm Tabanlıoğlu Architects employed natural ventilation and cooling systems in their design for Bodrum International Airport, which won the transport category at last year's World Architecture Festival, while Foster + Partners has designed a museum in Abu Dhabi with five curving towers that act as thermal chimneys to draw in cool air.

Here are some more details from the architects:

International Competition – ARPT new Headquarters (Autorité de Régulation de la Poste et des Télécommunications)

The building has been conceived as an icon where tradition and modernity are melted, both in form (which arises from a pointed arch typical of Mediterranean architecture and the inclination of the solar diagram) as well as in the treatment of the surface of the body.

The project is inspired by the Algerian desert landscape where the dunes of seem natural buildings, manufactured by wind and sand. Analysing the urban fabric, the location of the lot along a highway of great importance and especially the proximity to the new urban park Bab Ezzouar, offer the possibility to create a building highly visible and representative. An institutional building as the new ARPT headquarters should be the reference point within a neighborhood and a city where tradition and modernity merge each other to create new symbolic and cultural scenarios. For this reason the project proposal draws a highly iconic building far from the predominant aesthetics of the area and which exploits the direct contact with the new park. The desire to create a building that would work according to the principles of bioclimatic architecture and in particular by the natural cooling techniques of the past, such as the tu'rat, suggested an aerodynamic shape, convex on the North side to divert the hot winds, and concave on the South side to capture the cool breezes during the night, and thus to promote the natural ventilation of the building.

Form, energy and tradition are transformed then into a new building that will become a symbol of the development of Algeria.

Place: Algeri, Algeria
Year: 2013
Type: International Competition – winner project
Progetto: Mario Cucinella Architects

Team: Mario Cucinella, Luca Sandri, Alberto Casarotto, Alberto Bruno, Giulia Mariotti, Rossana Romano, Michele Olivieri, Giuseppe Perrone
Stuctures and engineering: Favero & Milan

Rendering: MIR, Engram Studio