Keetmanshoop, Karas Region

Completed 2008

Department of Works

The different revenue halls, interspersed with strong rooms, are placed along a wide perimeter passage facing north to the street to create the concept of a High Street. Upon entering, the internal courtyard garden acts as urban plaza for gathering activities. Full-height glazing opposite the halls allow staff a view of passers-by, who in turn can observe activities inside. Short ramps, counters and seating negotiate the fall of the site and provide resting space for the public along the high street between the halls. The roof of each hall rises to the north with a high clerestory, allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the working spaces.

The punctuated street facade creates the street edge without need for the ubiquitous government palisade fence, with an indigenous xeriscape garden acting as buffer. Materials are durable and rugged-locally produced clay brick and steel-framed windows, for thermal mass and low maintenance. An evaporative cooling system reduces energy consumption and provides a healthier alternative to conventional air-conditioning in this hot arid location.