OODA Architecture: Landscape mutation and metaphoric evocation
The Hotel is located in the beautiful capital of Zimbabwe, Harare, which is one of the most important and evolving cities in this part of Africa with the ambitious vision of becoming a world-class city by 2025. The design of the building’s volumes and its spatial organization was essentially inspired by the astonishing ‘Balancing Rocks’ (local natural formations), that have been used as a metaphor to explain the importance of the development in Zimbabwe while preserving its fragile environment. The project will dynamize the urban landscape of Harare and is now at licensing stage.
The Harare Radisson Blu Hotel is located in the beautiful and luminous capital of Zimbabwe. With the ambitious vision of becoming a world-class city by 2025, Harare is one of the most important and evolving cities in Africa. Implanted between a stabilized Eastlea North and an Eastlea South dominated by the vegetation of the Chapman Golf Club, with a height of 65 meters, the hotel competes for the accelerated change in the landscape of Harare. Admittedly iconographic, the design evokes several references, such as the city’s history, its skyline and surroundings. However, it was the astonishing Balancing Rocks that essentially influenced it.
These natural formations are found in many parts of Zimbabwe. They are in a perfectly balanced state and have been used as a metaphor to explain the importance of the development in Zimbabwe while preserving its fragile environment. Their extraordinary shapes inspired a landmark image and its tri-parted nature provided a clear spatial organization in the project’s program proposal of three distinct ‘balancing’ volumes that compose the base, the body and the coronation of the tower. The density is deconstructed with two breaking voids that separate the great general functional themes and have specialized uses such as lounge, spa, swimming pool and garden.
The first volume, markedly horizontal, is intended for social uses. The middle, vertical, contains the regular rooms. The top one, privileged in the enjoyment of the horizon, receives differentiated rooms like the presidential one, in addition to the various infrastructures. The large masses seem to be moving and respond to three different scales. The basis is the prologue that dialogues with the direct surroundings. Vertical action mediates the wishes for integration and transformation. The epilogue is referenced and enhanced in the landscape, observable and referenced from afar. The stacking of the volumes is dynamic; the two horizontal “space gaps” between them create a ‘city frame’ view. Its special form and structural elements, with a curve that resembles a cavity or a shelter, allows a fluid space and an interesting, welcoming environment. The design of the facade follows a continuous, repetitive pattern for its numerous windows. The sifted angle in the windows geometry of the two upper volumes produce different kinds of shadows.
“Architecture as a pivot between nature and the city, between calm and the urban throb, with
an impactful design principle inspired by local uniqueness that operates abstract figuration as a tool to evoke the past and triggers the future of Zimbabwe.”
Diogo Brito, Partner at OODA
Harare Radisson Blu Hotel is a new urban landmark that will transform and reinvigorate the skyline of the city.