Student Work / MA(Hons) Architecture

Self-initiated student submission as part of The Women’s House Kaira Looro Competition. 

The Women’s House in Baghere village is designed to welcome women into a sanctuary of greenery, dedicated to supporting and hosting rural communities in Tanaff, Senegal. The building program is centred around agricultural and communal activities, aiming to give women opportunities to learn farming and other practical skills, thus providing a chance to financial independence.

The house comprises of an elevated cyclopean concrete platform, on which two equal-sized compressed earth block (CEB) volumes are connected by an outdoor roofed foyer, creating a symmetrical building mass. The eastern building volume consists of the reception, a simple lavatory, storage for farming tools and two bedrooms for temporary accommodation. The western building volume acts as a large multi-purpose event space, in which group events are held, such as leadership workshops, farming lectures, Boubou sowing, basket-weaving classes, and cooking classes, etc.

Drawing inspiration from traditional Senegalese baskets, a weaved texture is mirrored in the perforated facades using alternately placed, removable wooden planter boxes, producing a beautifully patterned exterior of greenery. These are set within the enveloping timber colonnades which aim to provide shade for the outdoor corridors bordering exterior building volumes, whilst supporting the overhanging gabled roof. The large, inward-sloping roof acts as a dominant feature. Its elevation, deliberate tilt and overall design functions not only as a mechanism for climate control through natural ventilation, essential in the characteristically hot climate of Tanaff’s intertropical convergence zone, but also as part of a vital water-collection system. During autumn monsoon seasons, rainwater is collected from the roof, directed with a simple gutter system through a filtration system, and finally stored in large water tanks embedded within the structure’s CEB walls. This rainwater storage system aims to hold a supply of water economically and sustainably throughout the year, needed for farming, cooking and lavatory uses.