The proposed development site for the extension of the African Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters is situated in a developed area of Abidjan City. The site is on a steep incline, opposite the tower in which the current headquarters of the bank is located, next to the Grand Mosque.


The office and service buildings are situated along the front of the plot over a podium base dedicated to parking, which aligns the ground level of the building with the highest level of the site. The conference centre sits between the two buildings, connecting to the main lobby.


The office building, which has also been designed as rectangular prism, occupies the front of the plot facing the Grand Mosque. The proposed building is 14 stories high and 18.60 m wide to allow for cross ventilation and to maximise daylight.


The service building also has been designed as a simple volume, however the internal relationships are complicated to respond to the diverse functions. Different services have been allocated over its 6 floors, including catering, travel agency, post office, printing services, banking entities, childcare, medical centre, fitness area and prayer-rooms. The design also incorporates the spaces that link the existing building headquarters to the new proposed extension.


The conference room occupies the central space between the two tall buildings.   Its entrance communicates and connects each area of the complex, while facilitating the independent use of each space and mediates the movement of users and visitors with the corresponding security and access controls. It will have a total capacity of 1,200 people, with the flexibility to accommodate various meeting room sizes.


The building design is based on a 1.6 m rectangular grid to meet the functional space planning requirements of the various floors. It also helps to rationalise the structure and façade modules of the building. These modules alternate from solid to hollow in a half-module width, so that they achieve a proportion of openings that are suitable to the high light intensity of the site. Some of these aluminium composite vertical solid modules extend down to street level becoming the main “trunk” in a tree-like brise-soleil that creates a system of “branches” criss-crossing the entire height of the buildings. This is an iconographic reference to forests as a symbol of the country, and to wood as a fundamental sector of its economy.


From an environmental perspective the design includes passive measures such as a thermally efficient building envelope, natural ventilation with night time cooling, a heat recovery system using rainwater storage and optimising the daylight element to reduce electrical energy consumption.



Project: Adolf Martínez / Josep Lluís Sisternas, architects MSA+A. Mohammed Kabbaj, architect SGTM Architecture

Collaborators: Cristóbal Arrabal / Sandra Dachs / Laura Hintze, architects MSAA Group. Adil Chafai, architect

Developer: Banque Africaine du Développement

Built area: 55.248 m²

Chronology: 2013-2014