• British Council, Freetown / Manser Practice

Architects: Manser Practice  
Location: Freetown,  Sierra Leone
Project Year: 2013
Photographer: Manser Practice
Website: www.manser.co.uk

The British Council is perhaps the biggest export of architectural heritage across the world, comparable only in second place to the Dutch. The latest addition to the portfolio of architecture in Africa is the Freetown British council, a building that has now become synonymous with social and cultural endeavors in Sierra Leone.

British Council, Freetown / Manser Practice

The building alludes to clean and entrenched values of embassies but still bears with it a homely feel, a departure from the contemporary office like feel to embassies and a foray into a scared and convoluted relationship between the people of Sierra Leone and the British pursuit of diplomacy. 

British Council, Freetown / Manser Practice

From the Project Architect:
At the end of the Civil War in Sierra Leone, the existing 1950s British Council building was an important but very run down social and cultural hub in the city of Freetown. 

British Council, Freetown / Manser Practice

To bring the building back to life, The Manser Practice worked with local consultants, using materials that were available locally and construction techniques that were suitable for the low-skilled local workforce. Refurbishing the building involved stripping it back to its original design and then adding extensions to both rationalise the layout and help improve the natural ventilation that the building had relied on from its inception. 

British Council, Freetown / Manser Practice

Our ability to work closely within the constraints of climate, skills, materials and political context from the outset allowed the project to be built in very difficult circumstances.

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