Kaira Looro Competition 2021, has announced winners for this year’s competition, where contestants were asked to design A Women's House In Africa.
The objective of the architecture competition is the creation of a "Women's House" within a symbolic and environmentally friendly structure that is inspired by local traditions.
To be built in the municipality of Baghere in southern Senegal, the design has to meet specific construction requirements and be easy enough to be self-built by the community. Therefore, the focus of the competition was on easy to build sustainable technologies using natural or recycled materials. Furthermore, the competition seeks to encourage communication between institutions and associations in the areas, promoting gender equality and human rights through awareness-raising activities, seminars, labs and exhibitions.
The competition received entry's from all over the world, and an esteemed jury selected 30 finalists comprising of Kengo Kuma, Benedetta Tabliabue, Oulimata Sarr, Lehau Victoria Maloka, Salimata Diop Dieng, Urko Sanchez, Agostino Ghirardelli and Azzurra Muzzonigro.
Design City is the official media partner of the Kaira Looro Competition 2021.
The 1st prize was awarded to Juan Pablo Lopez Isabella from Uruguay, which includes a 5.000 € Cash prize, an Internship at Kengo Kuma and Construction, and ministerial adoption as a national model project. All awarded projects will be published in the competition's official book. Read below about the official winners of the Kaira Looro Competition 2021.
In the villages of Southern, Senegal architecture is closer to earth. Fences are made of sticks, dwellings predominantly made of straw and adobe are 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 a 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. v
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 realised 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.
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 labour market, without their participation being recognised 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 design process so begins with an awareness of the situation in which we are operating, and in particular by acting with the right sensibility to achieve the creation of a civic centre, which helps women today to leave their homes and take an interest in their own future in a place that welcomes them and makes them feel strong, independent and not alone.