International design firm NLÉ has recently shared its competition-winning design for the financial headquarters of the microfinance bank Credit Direct Limited. Located in Lagos, Nigeria, in the Ikeja district, the bank’s design abandons the forbidding presence of most financial institutions for one that is open and welcoming. This decision not only invites clientele inside, but creates opportunities for adaptation to the tropical weather of Lagos.
The new CDL headquarters will combine all of its pre-existing facilities into one building. This building will gather all of its most public functions, including the lobby, service block, and auditorium, into a single volume. This core will be insulated and shielded from the sun to avoid unwanted thermal gain. The upper floors will hold administrative and other private space. Sheathed in a transparent glass envelope, these rooms and offices will have access to views of the surrounding area, as well as to the opportunity or natural ventilation. The folded roof plate acts as a shading device for the upper story windows, and also collects rainwater.
Circulation through the bank is accomplished via a loop, beginning in the garden space on the ground floor, and ending at the rooftop garden. Along the way, visitors have access to the building’s restaurant, as well as the other public spaces.
To bring in natural light, a courtyard punctures the center of the building, and blurs the distinction between the interior and exterior. This promotes the idea that the headquarters are a public space, and friendly to the community.