Open City was approached to design a new flagship building for agricultural company Agrico in Upington, one of their busiest branches. The brief called for a building that incorporated a retail shop, office space, workshop, and warehouse. The building was envisioned as two interconnected shed structures, drawing inspiration from simple farm buildings, connected via a central passage that is roofed by a box gutter allowing rainwater to be collected and stored for use in irrigation of the surrounding landscaping. The roof provides a large south-facing clerestory window, to allow daylighting of the internal spaces and reduce the energy load on the building.

The indigenous landscaping surrounding the building and filtering into the covered outdoor spaces at the ends of the shed structures play on the theme of landscaping associated with Agrico. The materiality and detailing of the building is again reminiscent of farm equipment and implements, where the natural finish of the material is favoured and the joints and connections honestly expressed. The red earth of Upington inspired the red brick paving and face brick walls.

Location: Upington, South Africa

Type: Commercial

Size: 1859 m2

Status: In progress

Design Team: Bettina Woodward & Sebastian Waters

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