Register: OCT/13/2017, Submit: OCT/16/2017, Eligibility: Professionals, students of architecture, design, urban planning; individually, teams, Fee: 40 USD individually, 60 USD teams (JUL/13 – JUL/31/2017); 50 USD individually, 70 USD teams (AUG/01 – OCT/13/2017), Awards: 1st Prize 1,000 USD or construction + a trip for 1 person to Senegal for a workshop to build (in case the winner does not reside in Senegal), 2nd Prize 700 USD or construction, 3rd Prize 400 USD or construction, 7 Honorable Mentions
Nka Foundation announces a call for entries for its 5th Earth Architecture Competition: Designing a Rural Arts Center for Senegal, an international architecture competition open to professionals and students of architecture, design, urban planning and others from around the world. Your challenge is to design a unit of a rural arts school for construction in a village in the Casamance region of Senegal.
The objective is to design a modern mud type to be built as a unit of an artisanal village, a residential vocational training center for unemployed rural youths of ages 16 to 25 years to undergo a 2-year skills development training in the vocational arts and design. We want the school plan to emphasize sustainable architecture and cost efficient construction. Thus, we want the buildings to fully integrate earth architecture and passive solar design.
The challenge is to design one of the following types for the school: a classroom type, cafeteria type, office building type, dormitory type, group toilet type, cafeteria type, dwelling type for the local teachers, and guest house type for our international visiting staff. Contestants are to design the school type for construction by maximum use of earth and local labor.
The construction site will be Diakounda village in Sédhiou Region of the Casamance in Senegal.
HOW TO DESIGN WHAT IS BUILDABLE?
The construction of the top design entries in the competition is our priority for two reasons: (1) The building workshop will serve as cultural exchange as you build your unit of the school with the local youth trainees and local artisans; and (2) because at Nka Foundation, we have come to know that a means for a young designer to learn to design what is buildable is by providing you with the opportunity to design and build your own design. Thus, from February 2018 to July 2020, we will be collaborating with some of the design teams in the competition to organize construction workshops to build their design entries based on site at Diakounda village in Sédhiou Region of the Casamance, Senegal.
The competition promotes open source design, which implies that the submitted designs will be available for all to appreciate, use, or improve them to generate more practical and contemporary design solutions for the region. In light of this, the competition entry needs to be a type that can be replicated in another village in tropical Africa such as Gambia, Ghana or Tanzania. Our long-term goal is to enable the rural population and lots of other places, to overcome the stigma that mud architecture is architecture for the very poor.
What is the preferred construction method for the winning entries? The method to be used to build your design can be poured earth, rammed earth or another earth construction technique such as mud bricks. Mud brick construction is common to the region. Roof design should involve metal roof with such as corrugated zinc or aluminum roofing sheets, which are the conventional roofing materials in the region. Other roofing methods such as vault roof, tiled stone, ferro-cement roof and canvas roof are all possibilities but not duly tested to stand the region’s rain storms. However, keep in mind that we are designing for the tropical climate; devices such as natural ventilation, setting the house foundation at two feet above the ground level, and designing the roof to overhang by at least three feet will therefore be in order.
Keep in mind that the construction site for your design is Diakounda village at Bounkiling in Sédhiou Region of the Casamance, Senegal. The site is off the highway from Ziguinchor to Dakar via the Gambia. The official language is French, but the major language group is the Mandingo. Other language groups are the Diola and Wolof. Diakounda is a rural community dotted with mud houses of the mud brick type, roofed with corrugated zinc sheets. The main religion is Islam and the primary occupation of the people is farming. The closest airport to Diakounda is the Ziguinchor Airport.
The Sédhiou Region is located in the South-West of the country in the natural region called Casamance. Sédhiou is at the center of Casamance between the Kolda Region in the East and the Ziguinchor Region in the West. It also shares borders with the Gambia in the North and Guinea Bissau in the South. The Casamance River runs through the region. Sédhiou is one of the wettest regions of Senegal. The climate is tropical, hot and humid with a rainy season from May to November and a dry season from December to April. The environment is conducive to rice production. The poverty threshold is high. Sédhiou also suffers from a serious lack of basic infrastructure.
ART VILLAGE CONCEPT
The arts village is conceived as an informal school, an artisanal vocational development center that brings together international workshop participants, local artisans and less privileged youths from the region for skills transfer. The training will be provided by resident teachers and by hosting guest projects by both international and local practitioners in a self-growing school complex. That means, in the beginning there are just a few buildings. After the students learned some construction techniques, they will test their acquired knowledge and skills by building the next part of the school or some functional buildings for the community. Thus, the students are challenged to solve real problems, work together, to learn and build and create. Upon graduation, the cohort of trainees can move on to work on commissions as a building cooperative or work individually to source and building houses. Some of the graduates will be offered employment as teachers of the next generation who join the Workshop School.
Specifically, the arts village will be a residential skills learning center of a self-sustaining type for replication in other parts of Africa. The construction of the arts village will be carried out in phases to include accommodation for students, staff and international visitors; a multipurpose hall that serves as a kitchen and presentation hall; a commercial center; classrooms such as metalshop, woodshop, fabricshop and earth construction studio; and a demonstration farm. For example, the demonstration farm would be of the subsistent type to grow fruit trees, crops and animals such as bees, chicken and goats for use by the school. We want to plant fruit trees such as orange, mango, palm, cashew, coconut, cashew, and flowering plants around each building for shade as a part of the landscaping.
THE TRAINING FRAMEWORK
This is a two-year vocational training program that draws on apprenticeship with local artisans, and learning-by-doing with professional architects and designers, engineers, university students and volunteers who come from around the world to participate in Nka Foundation projects. The program is designed as an informal educational programme which combines literacy training with livelihood skills development to empower educationally disadvantaged people with livelihood and enterprise skills training so that trainees can engage in income generating vocation.
The arts village brings together a cohort of students who come from villages, rural townships and underserved parts of the city in the region to live together and learn-by-doing on construction projects involving building with earth, concrete and wood construction. The courses include basic design, entrepreneurial skills, rural house building materials production, various house wall construction methods, roof design and landscaping. The house wall construction methods involves cast earth, rammed earth, mud brick, stone masonry and cob construction. The students will also gain introductory knowledge in other areas such as use of English language, engineering and agroforestry as the school hosts guest projects by both international and local practitioners.
Total costs of constructing the design entry must not exceed US $10,000 for materials and local labor.