sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

‘women’s opportunity center’ by sharon davis design, kayonza, rwanda image © sharon davis design

 

 

new york-based firm sharon davis design has commenced construction this summer on ‘women’s opportunity center’, a rwandan school based on the idea of enabling women to be self-sufficient. the school was commissioned by women for women international, a non-profit humanitarian organization based in washington. they believe that in order to rebuild a country that has suffered through genocide, the best approach is education and self-empowerment at a grassroots level. the center will be both a permanent residence and a gathering place for women survivors of war as they learn new skills including crafts and brick making. the project aims to rebuild social infrastructure and restore cultural heritage. 

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda entrance to center image © sharon davis design

 

 

the layout of the separate structures are based on traditional rwandan building traditions, allowing the women to feel more at home in their new surroundings. set around a plaza, the structure is easily reached by public transit, integrating the education facility into the neighborhood. the small community will consist of classrooms, open spaces, a farmer’s market, and guest lodging. a civic space being the central focus will act as a venue for graduation events, and will host an open stage where the traditional dance and music of the rwandan people can be showcased and shared. the kitchen and canteen allows the ingredients harvested from the nearby farm land to be turned into communal meals. 
 
the guest lodges invite donors and visitors to partake in the experience of the program with the women. it is meant to build relationships between the students and sponsors around the world, helping to expand the facility’s social footprint. 
sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda
communal circulation space
image © sharon davis design
 
 
 
 
 
the circular classrooms are based on the king’s palace in southern rwanda. they are carefully dimensioned to create intimacy allowing 20 women to occupy these spaces at once. there are no windows, offering a sense of security, the space between the bricks allow light inside. the bricks themselves are made by women from clay found onsite. the sustainable approach was refined at a local manufacturing co-op. about half a million hand-pressed bricks will be needed in order to construct the classrooms and other infrastructure.    
 
 
corrugated metal rooftops will harvest rainwater into a cistern before it evaporates. the shape also deflects sunshine to minimize solar heat gain while promoting natural passive cooling and shade. the direction of the openings are calculated to take advantage of rwanda’s local prevailing breezes.

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda partner rooms image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwandacentrally located kitchen and canteen image © sharon davis design

 

 

 

onsite biogas replace firewood as the main cooking fuel since deforestation is a national issue in the country. part of the educational program teaches women to collect animal waste from the demonstration farm for fuel. for continued sustainability, a sand and UV water filter was designed especially for the project, providing sustainable clean water for drinking and gardening. 

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda agricultural classroom and demonstration farm  image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda open air civic space image © sharon davis design

 

 

 

by the time a woman graduates from the program, they will know how to market their own goods, manage a business and fuel the local economy. 
 
the ‘women’s opportunity center’ is scheduled for completion in 2012 and will be able to serve up to 300 indiviuals annually. the concept has been awarded second place among all categories of ‘future projects’ at the world architectural festival 2011, and first place in the subcategory of ‘future projects: education’. 

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda marketplace image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda guest lodges image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda gathering space image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda model of classroom structure image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda model sectionimage © sharon davis desig

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda model of classrooms image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda gathering the raw material for brick making image © bruce engel

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda communal brick makingimage © bruce enge

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda rwandan community shaping the bricks image © bruce engel

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda wood and flat surfaces are used to smooth the brick image © bruce engel

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda the completed bricks image © bruce engel

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda commencement of the buildings image © bruce engel

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda view of the land where the project will be realized  image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda aerial of site with plan outline image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda typographic site plan image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

programming of site image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda site plan image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda visual diagrams representing the goals of the project  image © sharon davis design 

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

explanation of brick building process  image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

diagram of classroom structure  image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

floor plan / level 0 image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda

section image © sharon davis design

sharon davis design: women's opportunity center in kayonza, rwanda heating and cooling diagram image © sharon davis design

‘sharon davis on WFWI opportunity center’ by sharon davis design

 

project info:

official name of the project: women’s opportunity center location: kayonza, rwanda client: women for women international principal-in-charge: sharon davis project manager: bruce engel project team: sam keller, molly cronin, ashley gange, dong-ping wong, jeff wandersman, laura cheung, damen hamilton consultants: arun rimal, osd engineering, structural engineer, paul laroque, buro happold, structural engineer john ochsendorf, mit, structural engineer, eric rothstein and ian lipsky, energy design dynamics budget: 1,000,000 USD project end date: construction scheduled for completion in 2011

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