Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Women’s Opportunity Center in Kayonza, Rwanda by Sharon Davis Design
November 17th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Sharon Davis Design
On a two-hectare site in Rwanda, the most densely populated country in Africa, the Women’s Opportunity Center is a change-making campus that empowers one small community and, in turn, reframes the way we as architects engage the world.
Created in collaboration with our client, Women for Women International — a humanitarian organization helping women survivors of wars rebuild their lives — this mini-village in Rwanda transforms unsustainable urban agglomeration and subsistence farming with an architectural agenda to create economic opportunity, rebuild social infrastructure, and restore cultural heritage.
Change begins in the project’s very building blocks. Our design revives a lost Rwandan housing tradition with rich spatial and social layers. Its circular forms radiate from intimate classrooms to a community space, farmer’s market, guest lodging, and the civic realm beyond. Bricks are made from clay on site by the center’s future users, a process that creates income opportunities and spurs social solidarity. The innovative program includes a demonstration farm that helps women produce and market their own goods, manage a business, and fuel the local economy. Our global network of consultants tapped African entrepreneurs to create water purification, biogas, and other sustainable systems that can now be produced and maintained by Rwandans for Rwandans.
Brick by brick, we are building big change. Now under construction, the Women’s Opportunity Center is a teaching tool that will ultimately empower 300 women annually to transcend a legacy of conflict. In their lives and stories, we have found the locally inspired grounds for a globally resonant architecture of optimism.
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