SACRED ARCHITECTURE - SENEGAL
KAIRA LOORO|ARCHITECTURE FOR PEACE
Architecture Competition - FINALIST
The aim of this project is to give a solid but simple covered structure to the inhabitants of Tanaf that could be used as a sacred space. The word “sacred” might not only have a religious meaning, in fact, it can be transformed into a hospital for emergencies such as plagues or natural disasters.
The design process did not follow specific forms, spaces or directions that could let prevail a spacial condition related to one of the four prevalent worships. Therefore we based our idea primarily on the concept of shelter, using a simple scheme: columns and beams supporting a roof. In particular, columns are located at the square mesh nodes, that means the space is equally divided and made accesible for all human beings.
Beyond the meaning of the space, we have to observe that the construction site has a square form and lays beside the main road of Tanaf. So, to take advantage from this we decided to cover almost all the available space. We did only one exception putting a cylindric wooden tower into the building. This choice has two motivations: a practical and a spiritual one. Concerning the practical one, as the building is situated in the middle of Tanaf village and faces the main road, the tower needs to be visible from far away, announcing the presence of such a space.
Furthermore, it lets sunlight descend into the building, as if a transcendental presence would penetrate the earth’s womb to heal mankind from his illnesses.
All around the wooden frame there is a thick wall that divides the sacred space from the secular one, lower than the frame, allowing light to enter. It has also niches in the inner side, to allow people storage worship stuff or medications and medical equipment in case of need; it has random-patterned windows on two sides. The wall has two doors which are the building entrances and stands onto a square basement, but larger than the inner surface so that people can take a walk around it. This architectural promenade is protected from sun and external looks by four fences of wooden rods, held up by a planar structural wooden frame.
The building provides itself for water cosumption: clay and laterite waterproofing roofs make rain water flow down through ceramic pipe stacks and collect into several underground tanks from which people can draw in the dry season.