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Women's House in Senegal. Honorable mention for Polish students

15 of July '21

A team of Polish students consisting of: Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik and Weronika Paczkowska received an honorable mention in the international competition Kaira Looro 2021. The theme of this year's edition, which Architecture & Business covered under its media patronage, was the Women's House in Senegal - a facility that serves as a place for meetings, lectures and discussions on issues related to equality and women's rights.

The competition task was to design a Women's House in the municipality of Baghere, located in southern Senegal. The facility was to be a symbolic, welcoming structure inspired by local traditions, integrated into the surrounding environmental and cultural context. A place for meetings and engaging discussions, promoting gender equality and protecting women's rights, helping to build awareness and knowledge, and stimulating the involvement of all sectors of society.

Dom Kobiet
w Afryce

Honorable mention went to a project from Poland

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

The competition requirement was to design a structure using sustainable technologies, made of natural or recycled materials, which can be built in cooperation with the local community without the need for heavy vehicles or complicated instruments. The area of the proposed Women's House should not exceed 200 square meters, and the building was to be one-story with an interior flexible in design.

 Dom kobiet
w Baghere, przekrój

One of the requirements of the competition was to design a one-story building using sustainable technologies

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

honorable mention for polish students

More than a thousand works were submitted for this year's edition, out of which the jury, composed of international: Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates), Benedetta Tabliabue (Miralles Tagliabue EMBT), Oulimata Sarr (UN Women Regional Director for West and Central Africa), Lehau Victoria Maloka (representative of the Directorate for Women, Gender and Equality). Women, Gender and Development at the African Union Commission), Salimata Diop Dieng, Urko Sanchez (Architects - Nairobi & Madrid), Agostino Ghirardelli (Studio Blengini Ghirardelli Architects), Azzurra Muzzonigro (Waiting Posthuman Studio) selected 30 winners. The final awards were three grand prizes, two honorable mentions and five special mentions. You can view all the awarded works in the competitions tab.

Among the honorable ment ions was a project by a team of Polish students - Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik and Weronika Paczkowska.

The proposal we are aiming for is a community space where people can sit together, re-awaken awareness and gain relevant knowledge about gender equality in Africa. The solutions in the building we designed are intended to stimulate creative thinking and the desire to learn, and raise awareness of the equality of all individuals in society, the award-winning students say.

Centralna część
Domu Kobiet, Przestrzeń Dialogu

In the central part is the Dialogue Space

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

Dialogue Space

TheWomen's House consists of three parts, differing in size and functions. The building was built to be coherent in terms of materials and construction. The main part of the building, the Dialogue Space, is inspired by a Senegalese custom called teraanga, which loosely translated means hospitality and generosity regardless of nationality, religion or class. The space is transparent, allowing the outside to seep in, and signifies transparency of actions and words.

The fireplace in the middle symbolizes the warmth and unity of all women and creates a safe place for contemplation and integration, the authors add.

The space creates a shelter with walls made of iron logs. Using the logs as a building material, it also serves as a storehouse for firewood and a place for contemplation in peace and quiet. As guests empty the walls for firewood, random patterns appear on the facades, letting light into the interior.

Dom kobiet
w Baghere, rzut

The Women's House consists of three parts

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

Steel rebar is the second essential structural material, providing stability and visual permeability to the entire structure. The layout of the pavilion cuts into the road adjacent to the plot, which is a continuation of nearby buildings.

construction with local materials

The authors used local and natural materials in the design. The foundations are made of concrete, which ensures a stable connection to the ground. The exterior walls were made of rammed earth from local sources, a procedure that made it possible to highlight the main part of the pavilion. The structure is based on iron for reinforced concrete and trusses supporting a roof made of sheet metal.

Dom kobiet
w Baghere, proces budowyDom kobiet w Baghere,

The structure of the house consists of, among other things: steel columns, rammed earth walls and a sheet metal roof

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

The pavilion consists of three parts: Management and Organization, Dialogue and Collective Action. Management and Organization contains administrative space, consisting of two storage rooms and an office. The Dialogue section is a space organized around a fireplace, allowing for both meetings and contemplation.

gender equality and human rights

The Collective Activities part is the primary objective of the project and contains space for promoting gender equality and human rights through the organization of awareness-raising activities, seminars, laboratories and exhibitions. This part consists of two spaces - a workshop and an exhibition space. Each room is organized as open space, which allows it to be arranged and modified according to current needs. The exterior walls consist of a mesh of steel reinforcing bars, which create a place to display local art and objects made by women.

Jedna z sal Domu

The workshop section of the Women's House

© Piotr Gajdak, Aleksandra Kubiak, Marta Mojsik, Weronika Paczkowska

We hope that every story at the Women' s House will be heard and understood, which will contribute to building a more understanding and civilized community, and that the lives of local women will improve, the authors conclude.

This is not the first edition of the Kaira Looro competition in which Marta Mojsik and Aleksandra Kubiak participated. Their design for a peace pavilion in Senegal won an honorable mention in 2019. On the other hand, in last year's edition, the main prize went to a team of Polish students consisting of Kamil Owczarek, Agnieszka Witaszek and Aleksandra Wróbel for their design of a Collapsible Emergency Shelter for a sub-Saharan African community affected by a natural disaster.

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