Kaira Looro Architecture Competition is a design contest open to students and young architects with aims to discover new talents and to adopt sustainable architecture models for the humanitarian purposes to improve living conditions in developing countries. Prestigious prizes are provided for winners, selected by an international jury made up of precious firms and institutions. The challenge of the competition is to design a Women’s house that aims to promote gender equality as a key factor in rural development. The architecture must be a space dedicated to hosting activities that focus on education, raising awareness, and developing the village in the name of equality.
Project by: Juan Pablo Lopez Isabella
In the villages of Southern, Senegal architecture is closer to earth. Fences are made of sticks, dwellings predominantly made of straw and adobe is the setting for a simple and sensitive life whose existence is immersed in a prodigious nature.
Above this tropical landscape, framed by the Tannaf Valley and dotted by the presence of robust and tenacious local trees, lies the Women´s House. Located in the village of Baghére, on the plot of land attached to the local municipality in front of the road, with flat and sandy terrain, with acacia and mango trees in the background, an enclosure is planned to hold awareness, training activities, and promote the growth of the region under the sign of equality. Establishing a dialogue with the site, a slender piece of laterite earth stands firmly on the ground, offering a meeting place for the African women.
Inside the material, an intimate and warm void is modeled, thought to be inhabited, and that at times looks outwards integrating nature. Reinterpreting the figure of the circle – present in the settlements of primitive cultures -, two semicircles forge the space, offering the visitor a dynamic and interactive scope, receptive to hosting various itineraries.
Project by: David Gonçalves, João Dias, Gonçalo Santos André, Pedro Gomes, Daniel Simões
Designing a Women’s House, for all the social importance it has, is a much greater exercise than the mere search for the most appealing form or geometry. It is, for us, an exercise of humanitarian and social nature. We set out to create a building that would provide well-being to those who inhabit it that would meet the expectations of those who need it and that, through architecture, would play a decisive role in the success of such a relevant and urgent mission: the promotion of gender equality and the improvement of women’s living conditions and empowerment.
To achieve this, the search for the right design began by understanding how we wanted the building to be perceived from the outside and how we wanted it to be experienced and felt once inside. We quickly realized that for this place to be an effective tool in spreading the strong and urgent message of improving women’s lives, it had to be an inviting and inclusive place, that naturally brought people together.
We imagined an open space, with different volumes that can be seen and crossed in a very natural way and that relate to each other as in a small village. This is how the idea of the main street emerges, as a natural extension of the outdoor space that, in a very organic way, unites all the buildings, subtly involving and merging them into one.
Project by: Annachiara Trabacchin, Elena Paccagnella, Gloria Aiolfi, Alberto Martini
In Senegal, the figure of the woman is historically linked to the activities of the home, even if today, despite the domestic aspect being the main domain in which the figure of the woman is included, at least 36% of women are in the labor market, without their participation being recognized as equal to that of men. The affirmation of women’s role outside the home is at the basis of the Cultural Revolution that the whole world is facing, more or less easily, but as a first step towards solving the undeniable Gender Gap that still hasn’t been totally eliminated by any country in the world.
Our project also extends to the context in which our architectural artifact is collocated: we have thought of a simple space, but one that is functional and can be used at its best. The proposed interventions concern the planting of some species of vegetation, in particular spontaneous and autochthonous species, and some trees, mainly Mango and Acacia, with the aim of improving the quality of the outdoor space, thanks above all to the shaded areas that will be created.
Another detail of the exterior concerns the basins placed at two of the corners of the building, in which rainwater is collected thanks to an efficient roof system, and from which the inhabitants can draw.
Explore the entire Result of the Competition on the WEBSITE.Save