COMESA, short for Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is an organization of free independent sovereign states which have agreed to co-operate in developing their natural and human resources for the good of all their people and as such it has a wide-ranging series of objectives which necessarily include in its priorities the promotion of peace and security in the region. It was founded in December 1994.
The majority of the Secretariat’s staff is based at its Lusaka, Zambia headquarters, with a smaller sub-section of the Secretariat staff in Cairo, Egypt. As their current building in Zambia has shown signs of age and malfunction, the organization’s high council thought it’s time to obtain a new high-end building to better represent the value of the union and act as an influential hub of culture and commerce. An international design competition called for designers from around the globe to submit their proposals.
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(Proposed site for the new headquarters)
Cairo, Egypt-based firm RMC (Raafat Miller Consulting) participated in the race with a lively and majestic establishment. Their concept was based on sustainability with an aim to enhance habitation, generate green energy, create resources, and add value to the community it lies within. The building doesn’t only house the admin offices of the secretariat, it also sports large exhibition spaces, two multi-purpose halls, a library and a clinic; all blended in harmony under one roof. Here’s the designer’s description:
The Building is formed of two masses, the first one represents the idea COMESA is based on, Unity, and the second layered mass represent the 19 member states of the organization. The two forms are connected with through an atrium, creating an iconic mass for the headquarter building.
The building is a self sufficient, green sustainable design, enhancing the experience of users and reflecting their capabilities of production. Such technologies and simple treatments will reduce the running cost of the facility.
The design of the building represents a known respected organization through colors and patterns of African culture, turning it into an iconic landmark on the inside as well as the outside.