The aim was to design a new separate (extension) building at the 15000 sq.m site of ICIMOD, located in Kathmandu. For reference – the site has an existing building for ICIMOD (designed by Architect Tom Crees), which has a traditional Nepali vernacular architectural influence, along with elements from the eight regions (defined by international borders) of the Hindu Kush Himalayan range.
The proposed block is a free standing building built from local materials. Although the approach towards planning is contemporary, traditional design elements and detailing has been used so the annexe building is not entirely alien to Nepalese architecture.
The building sits at the south east side of the site, and the height and scale of the building are intentionally smaller than the existing building.
The building has a traditional external appearance, but the design is minimalist and contemporary – focussing on function foremost, and efficient allocation of space.
The entrance of the building is a triple-heighted space, giving a welcome feel to the visitors by sheer volume alone. This foyer interlocks with an adjacent double-heighted space, and the two interlock at various levels, providing visual access from several points.
The aim is to create a feeling of openness and transparency in the working environment of this intra-governmental office building, focussed towards being accessible to the local community and serving them.
All the levels to the atrium are connected by a large central staircase. This staircase also serves as a prominent architectural element in the design, and its scale allows for leisurely movement and even interpersonal interaction while using it.
The building consists of three floors above ground level, and a basement parking. The design also allows future expansion and adjustments. The subterranean parking has been provided for visitors and staff, but the design aims to keep the complex pedestrian and minimize vehicular movement on site.
The proposed building has load-bearing walls made of natural stone (as used in the main building) for the ground floor. The first and second floors have exposed brick walls that reflect the traditional Nepalese architecture.
The windows and doors are made from unpolished Nepalese sesau wood, with thick sections.
All balustrades and railings are wooden, and some internal walls are wood-cladded too.
The building structure consists of RCC columns and slabs, while the roof of the building is made from wooden trusses.
All the proposed materials are vernacular, indigenous, and commonly used in Nepal – with high durability and low maintenance requirements.
Project Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Design Team: Horizon Design Studio – Sunil Yadav, Anil Yadav
Project Status: Proposal / Idea / Unbuilt