Beetech Building

Chilomoni, Blantyre
“Our building facility truly reflects who we are and what we stand for regarding the service we provide - great design and high quality workmanship. Every little detail has been thought of and executed.”
(May E. Bikoko, Beetech Manager)
Location
Beehive Main Campus, Chilomoni, Blantyre, Malawi
Type
Office and Workshops
Year of Construction
2017 – 2018
Design Architect
Donn Ponnighaus
Project Architects
Donn Ponnighaus and Keith Banda
Design Engineer
Zedi Nyirenda
Geotechnical Engineer
Zedi Nyirenda
Project Engineer
Hendrix Mgawana
Total Building Area (Approx. GEA)
673m²
Number of Storeys
3
Construction Cost
256,859,000 MWK
(£260,834 GBP – rate correct as of 25th August 2020)
Cost per m²
381,663 MWK/m²
(£388 GBP/m²)
“Malawi’s economic growth has not been inclusive partly because it is driven by an underdeveloped agricultural sector, and it does not create enough decent jobs for the rapidly growing number of people joining the labour market.”
(‘Malawi Economic Policy Brief’, AFIDEP, 2016)

The Beetech building was constructed at the Beehive Main campus, in order to house two of Beehive’s social enterprises; ‘Beetech’ and ‘CoG’. The Beetech enterprise offers a data entry service to assist larger, established companies in digitising historical records and accounts. Many of Beetech’s employees are former students of Beehive’s JPII IT Institute. The Cycle of Good (‘CoG’) employs local women who upcycle waste products, such a bicycle inner tubes and used coffee sacks, into new products available for sale in the UK.

In order to accommodate a potentially wide range of different enterprises, the Beetech building is formed of a series of six open-plan workshops, set over 3 storeys. Originally envisaged as two-storey, an additional storey was added to the building half way through construction due to the rapid growth of the Beehive enterprises it would house. The building utilises a reinforced concrete frame, in order to achieve wide spans and therefore column-free, flexible workshop spaces. The building is clad externally with Beehive’s site-made Hydraform block system.

Entry to the building is through a double-height lobby, creating an open, light and airy welcome. The void extends through the stairwell to the top of the building, where a large chimney tops the roof, creating natural ventilation throughout. Lighting in the workshops is created through large, regularly-spaces windows which encircle the rooms on three sides – electrical lighting is therefore rarely required during the day. Trunking at desk height is present in all workshops, in order to allow for a range of machines and IT equipment.