MoFT Administration Building

Location: Honiara, Solomon Islands
Client: Minitry of Finance and Treasury
Status: Completed 2015


JCA were engaged by RSIIP for and on behalf of RAMSI IU to undertake the design and documentation of the proposed new 3 storey Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) Administration building within the MoFT precinct. The building forms a bookend to the site and remains the first step in revitalising the precinct through a new Masterplan that has included the demolition of a number of old and outdated building stock. The new building offers MoFT the ability to consolidate a number of departments into one building and in doing so (and as per the Masteplan), removing the previous scenario of multiple access points into the precinct which had been presenting significant security risks to staff. The location has retained the existing precinct leaf house as the heart of the site - reinforcing the traditional village concept. Orientated north / south the design is based on a long narrow building. The building plan encourages offices and open plan areas (habitable spaces) to be located along the glazed edges maximising natural light ensuring all workstations have access to both views and light. Duplicate corridors run either side of the centrally located storage areas and meeting rooms. The resultant layout has allowed natural light to penetrate into the buildings centre and reduce the demand on artificial lighting in turn offering genuine cost savings. Large over hangs and sun shading afford the building extensive solar protection negating the need for internal blinds and in turn reducing the heat load on the building resulting in anticipated running cost savings. The large colourful solar shading blades used throughout focus on the blues prevalent in the existing Ministry buildings and reflective of the sky and ocean. Their complimentary response to the surrounding architecture strengthens the precinct enabling a more holistic aesthetic. The colours have been selected to gradate in depth of blue capturing the changing nature of the blue within the clear seas of Iron Bottom sound. This almost shimmering effect changes the appearance of the building throughout the day and offers using a constant change in feel as they movie through and around the building. Further enhancing the buildings ESD philosophy has been the integration of gas powered air-conditioning. 

Taking the reliance away of dependency on the local power supply (more costly and less efficient) is anticipated to offer  payback within 5 years allowing the MoFT to make significant operational cost savings. These strategies compliment the already considered passive design responses encouraging the Solomon Islands Government to implement greater rigour around the design of new buildings and their environmental responsibilities. The office building incorporates a number of departments within the Ministry through open plan layouts with shared meetings rooms, kitchenettes, print stations and amenities on each level. The 3rd floor is reserved for the executive suite, maximising the views towards iron bottom sound allowing a layering of roles within the floor plates. Clear finish plywood is used extensively throughout, not only as a robust finish but the benefits gained through its softening of the internal aesthetic and taking away from a reliance on paint. The plywood is used on both walls and ceilings, in particular within the meeting rooms and staff areas giving a visual difference to the open plan and office areas. A central stair links all levels with a skylight penetrating deep through a void shaft highlighted by a colourful pattern of ceramic tiles.