kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

kéré architecture, the firm led by diébédo francis kéré, has revealed its design for benin’s national assembly building in porto-novo, the capital city of the west african country. having outgrown its current location, benin sought a new national assembly to embody the values of democracy as well the cultural identity of its citizens. in response to this brief, kéré’s scheme references the palaver tree and the region’s tradition of meeting under a tree to make decisions in the community’s interest.

francis kéré benin national assembly
all images courtesy of kéré architecture

 

 

the building forms part of a larger masterplan, that includes a public park showcasing benin’s native flora while providing porto-novo with an extensive recreation space. kéré architecture positioned the assembly hall on the ground floor with a structure that supports the building’s other programs above. the crown is comprised of offices and auxiliary functions set back from the deep façade, which filters the strong sunlight.

francis kéré benin national assembly

 

 

meanwhile, the building’s ‘trunk’ is hollow, resulting a central courtyard that allows circulation spaces to be naturally ventilated and indirect light to penetrate the plan. a spiral staircase at the center of the courtyard connects the assembly hall on the ground floor to the offices above. finally, on the top floor, a roof terrace offers sweeping views over the city and the lagoon in the distance.

francis kéré benin national assembly

 

 

in the southeast corner of the site, a public square marks the civic façade of the building, across from the former national assembly where benin’s independence was historically declared. further facilities for government services are integrated into the park’s topography with planted roofs, and form a façade along the southern limit of the site.

francis kéré benin national assembly

 

 

‘the benin national assembly marks an important next step for our studio,’ says francis kéré. ‘this project gives shape to our ideas about community gathering, the importance of indigenous forms of governance and what contemporary african architecture can be on a national scale. I am honored by the trust that has been placed in us, and am grateful that together we can build a new house of democracy for the republic of benin.’

francis kéré benin national assembly

 

 

‘our aim was to design a civic building serving the institution as much as the public of porto-novo,’ adds jeanne autran-edorh, project architect. ‘to achieve this we conceived a large canopy structure that hosts the assembly hall and also creates an emblematic shaded public space, accessible to all.’ see other projects by kéré architecture on designboom here, including a pavilion located on a working ranch in the US state of montana.

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kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

kéré architecture reveals plans for benin's national assembly building in porto-novo

 

 

 

project info:

 

title: benin national assembly
location: porto-novo, republic of benin
type: civic – parliament house
size: 35,000 sqm / 376,737 sqf
design: november 2018 – december 2020
construction: march 2021 –
status: in planning

 

architect: kéré architecture, débédo francis kéré, berlin, germany
design team: project architect: jeanne autran-edorh; architects: alexandra zervudachi, kinan deeb, javier mola cardenes; kéré architecture, berlin, germany
contributors: andrea maretto, leonne vögelin, charles andré, ismaël n’faly camara, léon bührer, malak nasreldin; kéré architecture, berlin, germany
project management: jeanne autran-edorh, fabiola büchele; kéré architecture, berlin, germany
construction management: contact architect: ecoplan, cotonou, benin; local management: SImAU, cotonou, benin
engineering: aecom, london, UK; sahel-ingenierie dakar, senegal
client: republic of benin – minister of living environment and sustainable development

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