Kéré Architecture is an established name in the global architecture scene for work that elegantly balances quality design and social commitment. A Uganda community centre, its latest project, is a case in point, showcasing once more founder Francis Kéré’s attention towards education and sustainable architecture, an approach he displayed in recent work such as the SLAK campus in Kenya, and which won him the 2022 Pritzker Prize.
The Kamwokya Community Centre in Uganda was designed to enable the provision of sports, leisure and creativity in an open-air space in Kampala. The project uses a raised platform with embedded drainage to prevent it from being flooded – an issue the site had in previous years. The raised playground space is divided into adjacent courts, each at slightly different heights, which creates a natural division between different areas for seating, sports, education and community activities.
Making the new Uganda community centre
The community centre is the result of a collaboration between the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community (KCCC), a local non-profit NGO (it has worked since 1987 to improve access to basic social, psychological and economic services in Uganda) and the Ameropa Foundation, a Switzerland-based international charity. The foundation provides local services with the structure and management to implement projects, and its collaboration with KCCC and Kéré Architecture aims to inspire the community and provide them with a central and safe hub.
Francis Kéré describes how the centre ‘will provide inspiration and a public space for the community, improving the quality of life’. Founder of Ameropa Foundation Nicole Miescher speaks of it being somewhere that ‘children can play in a safe and clean environment’. In order to ensure the site was fit for its community, Kéré collaborated with Ugandan studio JE Nsubuga & Associates utilising its local knowledge and expertise.
Red-brick walls and corrugated iron roofing make up the 1,600 sq m site. Spaces are dotted with seating areas and open platforms, creating a central and well-lit safe space for social gatherings. Inside, spaces are naturally ventilated with wooden shutters and hold multiple areas for learning and collaborating. Two buildings house a gym, an internet café, a music studio, an office; flexible areas provide opportunity for development, with a variety of classes for adults on the plans for the coming years.
Another block holds basic and key sanitary facilities, while chess boards are dotted around the site, along with spaces for people to eat together – and be brought together. A tall sculptural tower adds height to the composition, contributing to a complex that ‘demonstrates that marginalised communities deserve better, (providing) moments of hope, happiness and sustainable solutions’, says Francis Mbaziira, CEO of KCCC.
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Publish date : 2022-11-05 07:00:28