Fabrice Fouillet

Sapiens Building in Angola by CostaLopes Juxtaposes Solid and Void Forms to Create an Engaging Facade

Sapiens is a 6 storey institutional building designed by CostaLopes for the Polytechnic Institute of Science and Technology. The unique low rise building is located in a former industrial zone 500 metres from the Avenida Marginal and the Bay of Luanda, Angola.

Its abstract yet elegant trapezoidal form makes it stand out besides the much taller neighboring buildings. This form also helps it maximise its south-westerly orientation ensuring all 10 700 sqm of functional space offer the best possible experience for the end users.

The Sapiens Building (Polytechnic Institute of Science and Technology) is located in a still semi-industrial area, on an intermediate topographic platform between the northern limit of downtown, not far from Luanda’s port and the Central Railway Station, and the bottom of the cliff just bellow the residential neighbourhood of Miramar. The situation was very challenging, even more when considering the implantation on a wedge plot, next to Rua dos Municípios Portugueses, already very compacted by two towers, one of offices with 14 floors and the other of housing with 20 floors.


The polyhedral volume occupies the available plot completely. On one hand, its abstraction fits better to the close proximity of the towers and, despite its six floors, guarantees its formal firmness.On the other hand, enhance the concrete structure, the galleries in continuous parietal and surgical tear dramatize the polyhedral whole, become tropicalized mediators of light and shadow, allow the views over the city and deliver an elegant urban vibration.

Finally, this same tearing denounces the firm rationalization and public fluidity of the educational program, unified between the peripheral galleries and the circulatory heart of the building, and between the cafeteria on the roof terrace and the ground floor open to the exterior, with the public mission being celebrated in the big auditorium. The Sapiens Building transforms the contingencies to its own advantage, vigorous in urban presence and generous in public ethics.

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