1st Prize - Team: OMONIOALY346 from Italy
Project by: Giacomo Spanio, Sergiu Cernea, Paolo Reali, Nicola Puppin.

The proposal for the new Cultural Centre of Sédhiou is designed to be context-sensitive and to link traditional elements with modern shapes. Rainwater harvesting and purification with natural methods had a central role during the design process.

The solution of the Venetian well was chosen because it uses sand and clay to naturally purify water, which are materials that can be found in Sédhiou. The well became a pivotal element of the building, which is constructed around it. Thus the building has a central courtyard which is characterized by both the presence of the impluvium and the well. The impluvium, which resemble the Pompeii Domus, has a dual purpose. When it is dry, the impluvium becomes an outdoor space where people can sit in the shade; when it rains, it is a tank where rainwater is collected and starts the purification process of underground filtering.

The perforated brick wall of the pavilions and the bamboo roof slightly raised above them guarantee two advantages. The first is the natural ventilation in the building and the second one is to protect visitors from direct sunlight. Therefore, the light inside the building is diffused and soft. The orientation of the building and the position of the walls that surround it were designed taking into account the monsoon direction in that area. A curved wall surrounds the building passing through the trees and contains the service area. The construction materials reflect a strong relation with the local environment and aim at reducing costs and construction time. The use of concrete is limited to the basement, whereas walls are made of earth bricks covered in clay plaster and the roof is made of intersected bamboo.

The project is designed to have a great impact on the population of Sédhiou, but is respectful of its tradition. It is intended to be a new meeting point for the people of the town, with a strong modern attitude in its forms, but it respects the natural and cultural context in which is placed and the local construction techniques.



  • Yeukai Arthur … (not verified) 15.08.2018, 2:32 am

    I just have a few " negative " pointers about the competition that you posted. For starters the competition is a design for a cultural center in Africa....If you see the 25 finalist that made it there is not every one single entry from the WHOLE of Africa. This raises two questions. 1) Its either because no one from Africa had about the competition or 2) Africans are not good at designing their own cultural centers that they will use. Secondly....out of all the 12 judges that were present...there is not even one single African Architect or a local consultant from the region in which the competition took place. Does this mean that the local people cant even decide what they want.
    I am an upcoming and Proud African Architect. i entered this competition but our design failed to make it. I do not think that we failed because it was a bad design i think we failed because of how the organizers planned this competition.I am also sure that i'm not the only African who entered and i think this competition was an insult to all of the indigenous African Architects and local people of that community in Senegal. I think this was very very rude and unfair to the continent.


The Cultural Center derives its concept from the oldest meeting spot in Africa which is the tree.