From Shadows to Light
The main idea we kept in mind for this project was that we could remember past wars and then, through a perceptive eye, we could start seeking for peace.
Since our aim was to turn this perception into something palpable, we brought a surprising and modern architecture, that is also very sensitive and contextualized, entirely integrated with the landscape, reinterpreting the building traditions. Thus, it could become a symbol of this awareness for the African continent and the world.
We soon found out that we wanted the construction to lead all the visitors on a pre-established path. They would first have to go past the exhibition area, which would be a darker and heavier scenario that would create a sensitive awareness. Soon after, they would end up at a lighter, brighter and calmer environment, in direct touch with nature, water, sunlight, and with life. All would be more peaceful, welcoming contemplation and prayers. A place where everyone could admire nature, the universe, reflecting on what they saw and felt, and choosing not war, but peace.
From shadows to light.
The fact that we made the choice to work with the rectangle’s simple shape, brought us some advantages. The first advantage we had, was that we were able to attend the demands by creating a ”from shadows to light” path. We were also able to make something compact, that could fit everything, reducing costs and integrating itself harmoniously with the land.
With two detached walls, strategically positioned, we framed the corner, creating an interesting perspective, leading the visitors to the entrance while also protecting it, and redirecting the dominant wind. We chose to use a charcoal-rammed earth mix for the walls, which enabled us to bring that shadowy atmosphere to the gallery, due to its black-graffiti tones, as well as giving an innovative approach to usual procedures.
For the gallery roof, we made a pergola from lightly burnt wood (shou sugi ban). The lighting and ventilation are natural as we took advantage of the wind and sunlight in different ways. To create a diffuse light inside the gallery, for instance, we made usage of discarded plastic bottles filled up with water and chlorine to increase luminosity. The bottles are attached to the bamboo roof in order to capture sunlight. The floating roof, fragmented corners, and detached walls allow the wind and natural light to enter the space. The fragments that separate the walls go from the bottom to the top, from the ground to the sky, bringing an idea of grandiosity and spirituality to the project. From earth to sky…
The sides of the walls that face the prayer area have been overlayed with lime for having a lighter tone and bring peace and tranquility. It also gives a strong contrast between the two spaces.
In this meditative surrounding, there is a stone path above a water mirror. Empty or full, it will always make the visitors slow down their pace, their rhythm, and start calming down while still keeping their mind alert. From this peaceful place, sat down and staring at the landscape, the water mirror merges with the river, giving an idea that the building continues into nature. It inserts the project delicately to nature.
The roof is designed to divert the rainwater to this water mirror, and under it, there is a Venetian well that filters and stores the water.
From our extensive research, this was the solution we most appreciated, due to its many advantages.
The cement and iron were only used in its foundations, and we suggested to change gravel for demolition debris and discarded concrete pieces.
By using a simple and compact design, utilizing local material and building methods, while also aiming to reuse discarded material, we were able to achieve a very low building cost.
Local: Sedhiou, Africa
Concurso: Kaira Looro
Data do projeto: 2018
Studio Meyer arquitetura