Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

Women's Home in Africa - Polish proposal in Kaira Looro competition

03 of August '22

We present the design of the Senegalese Women's House by Marceli Sobanski and Aleksandra Stoltz, graduates of the Poznan University of Technology. The concept, which took part in the international competition Kaira Looro 2021, is a friendly, simple in design open space referring to the local building tradition. A characteristic element of the pavilion are colorful meterials woven by Baghere residents, symbolizing solidarity and mutual support of women.

The task of the Kaira Looro 2021 competition was to design a Women's House in the community of Baghere, located in southern Senegal. The building was to be a symbolic, welcoming structure inspired by local traditions, integrated into the surrounding environmental and cultural context. The building was to be designed using sustainable technologies, with natural or recycled materials and no more than 200 square meters in area.

Charakterystycznym elementem pawilonu są kolorowe tkaniny

A characteristic element of the pavilion is the colorful fabrics

© Marceli Sobanski, Aleksandra Stoltz

Our main idea was to create a space where local associations could meet, exchange experiences and take action to promote topics related to gender equality. The main thrust of the competition was the message that gender equality is in fact not only a basic human right, but also a necessary condition for a prosperous world. Ensuring equal access to education, medical care and employment for all, as well as a presence in decision-making processes, promotes a sustainable economy that benefits society as a whole, the authors say.

Projekt Domu Kobiet, zagospodarowanie terenu

Women's House project, landscaping

© Marceli Sobanski, Aleksandra Stoltz

how can architecture help?

When designing the building, the young architects tried to answer such questions as:

  • what is contemporary architecture and how much it should be defined by the project site, context or local conditions,
  • how appropriate shaping of space is able to influence social behavior, integration of users,
  • whether architecture itself is able to contribute to building ties, relationships?
Although the location of the project seems distant from the perspective of Europeans, the topic itself is extremely close. Speaking loudly and clearly about gender equality, the essence of building unity among women and the power of support, including in the world of architecture, is very important in the context of the desire to bring about changes in the way we think about the modern, developed world, the authors add.

Pawilon ma prostą konstrukcję  Projekt Domu Kobiet, rzut i przekrój

The construction of the pavilion is simple and thanks to the fabrics, its space can be separated

© Marceli Sobanski, Aleksandra Stoltz

fabric walls

The design of the Women's House on display consists of a solid wooden structure, providing a frame for multicolored fabrics that ripple against the dust floating over the streets of Baghere. The fabrics made by local women are meant to symbolize solidarity and mutual support, while making the pavilion distinctive. The fabrics form partitions in the building, both internally and externally, whose pulling and shifting makes the building constantly change. It can be completely open, but if necessary the curtains can be drawn and thus focus the attention of users on the activities taking place inside.

The choice of curtains as the main material making up the building is an attempt to create a flexible spacethat can be easily modified and transformed. If needed, it can be a single-space conference room, a concert hall, a dance studio or an exhibition space. At other times, closing all the curtains creates three independent rooms in the building, with common spaces interspersed throughout. This multifunctionality of the building makes it ideal for a variety of activities conducted by women - activities conducted in small groups, or on a large scale: conferences, lectures, the architects explain.

Importantly, the structure of the material partitions ensures adequate ventilation and a friendly microclimate in the interior space.

Wnętrze pawilonu

The brick used in the project was made of red earth

© Marceli Sobanski, Aleksandra Stoltz

local materials

The design of the pavilion is based on local building traditions and draws on local practice. For the authors, it was important to create a design that is easy for local workers, as well as Baghere residents themselves, to join in the construction process.

The designers used materials available in the immediate area, which they say is a key element in trying to meet the concept of sustainability. Materials used include the previously described Senegalese fabric used as partitions, poles made from palm tree trunks, and wooden planks used for the roof structure. The toilets and wells located on the plot are made of red earth bricks, while the floors are finished with crushed stones.

Also read about this year's competition, regarding the design of the Children's House.

Dobrawa Bies

The vote has already been cast