Paths of Spirituality
diversity, interiority, wordship, community

Kaira Looro Competition 2017

Year: 2017
Client: Kaira Looro
Size: 350sqm
Cost: TBD 
Location: Tanaf, Senegal
The design seeks to enhance spiritual connections between man, divine and natural elements. The combination of unity, community and a place for self-reflection is displayed through the change in thresholds; beginning from an exterior public domain towards the internal gathering space. The transformative concept of the design provides a place where individuals can practice their spirituality openly. The population of Senegal primarily observes a combination of Islamic values, Mandigo and Animism practices, elevating the natural elements to the divine.
The scarcity of water in the area pushed to give vital role to the rain collection and storage, while posing a great threat to the availability of materials. The design uses rammed earth for the exterior benches and compressed earth blocks for the walls: locally sourced, inexpensive, sustainable, and easily fabricated materials. The roof is thatched with bamboo substructure to support the rainwater harvesting system.
Roots
The dynamic roots of a baobab tree became the core design concept, symbolizing their great extensions as a way to draw people towards the interior sacred cavity.

Roof
The roof was inspired by the vernacular impluvium used to collect rain. The opening of the roof is inclined towards a basin located in the centre of the sacred space. The thatched roof, aiding in drainage, also provides shade to enhance the interior comfort.

Water
The interior basin is always provided with a film of water as symbolic element, while the actual collection system ensures the safe storage of rain away from insects in an underground cistern. The water can be fetched through a pedal pump behind the sacred space.

Light
The walls are perforated to act as a veil or mashrabiya, concealing the sacred space from the public. Light penetrates from the side and from the void space in the roof. The surrounding trees also play a role in shading the exterior spaces.
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