This project is our proposal for the national architecture competition to construct the Cocoa Coffee Council headquarters. It is located on the edge of the iconic Republic Square in Plateau. The major constraint of the project was the limited size of the site for a comprehensive programme, and a building that needed to have international resonance in line with Ivory Coast’s status as the world’s leading cocoa producer. The result of our interpretation of the programme is a 49-storey tower, one of the tallest in West Africa.
This is a vertical metaphor for transforming raw cocoa into a refined product, an eternal issue resulting from the deterioration of trade terms to the detriment of weak economies based on exporting raw materials, such as the Ivory Coast. Thus, (1) the tower’s base is a stylised representation of a raw cocoa pod; it changes colour in the evening, mirroring a natural pod according to its maturation stage. Next, (2) the more turbulent intermediate floors from a volumetric perspective represent the industrial transformation of cocoa. Finally, (3) the upper floors rising with clean lines represent the refined chocolate resulting from the transformation.