The Sipopo Congress center is a striking piece of contemporary architecture probably most notable for its dynamic facade.
Located in Malabo, the capital city of Equatorial Guinea, the facility was designed by Istanbul based Tabanlioglu Architectus and is intended for diplomatic relations meetings and negotiations between leaders of diverse African nations and cultures seeking to promote peace and development across the continent.
Built in a little over 5 months on a site of 11 700sqm, the Sipopo Congress Center was inspired by nature and harmony, designed to be “a showcase” for Equatorial Guinea, much like Tabanlioglu’s work on the Luminous Hall in Libya. That was the building that moved Equatorial Guinea’s president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to commission the architects to design something similarly impressive for his country.
Most prominent in this project, and you will agree, is the lacy, metal facade. The geometry and aesthetic is something that was carried through the design with wall panels, ceilings and more wearing a similar style.
Here’s a description from Tabanlioglu,
The rectangular two-storey block is nested in a semi-transparent metal envelope as a shield protecting from strong lights and create an implication of security, protecting the interiors from sharp sun beams yet benefiting the daylight at optimum. The lacy texture of the mesh behaves like sun-break and grants a shady interior without hindering the accent of transparency. The building with its elegant veil visually merges to the ocean and the surrounding greenery in serenity, reflecting the beauty of the surroundings.
Encircled and harmonized with the green woods and the blue ocean, mirroring the nature on the building’s uninterrupted sheer glass walls, the gray-bronze mesh follows the color of the tree trunks and the existing Conference Hall materialized in solid travertine. Through the placement of metal panels in variations at different levels and angles, the façade is perceived as an assortment of playful geometries glittering with day light, echoing not only the colors and tones but also the motions of the winds and waves.