The Kaira Looro Competition’s winning projects



The Kaira Looro Competition’s winning projects for a Peace Pavilion in Sedhiou, Senegal

Peace is a dream, it can become a reality, but to build it we must be capable of dreaming.

(Nelson Mandela)

Peace Pavilion is the third edition of the Kaira Looro international architecture competition, the theme of which is architecture in developing and emerging countries. After the first editions, dedicated to the design of a sacred structure (2017) and a cultural centre (2018), this year the competition announces the winners in a theme that is of global interest: peace. Participants were asked to design a Peace Pavilion to be built in the city of Sedhiou in southern Senegal, Africa.

The objective of the competition was to come up with a symbolic structure that would serve as a memorial to the victims of the African wars and that would sensitize the local and international community, creating a commemorative and educational space that respects both the environment and local traditions. The ultimate goal of the structure is to promote the culture of peace.
The competition was organised by the Balouo Salo Non Profit Organisation, which has been active in Africa for decades, with the collaboration of the University of Tokyo, Kengo Kuma & Associates, important international associations, and local partners including the Municipality of Sedhiou and its Department of Culture. Its official media partners were Archilovers and Archiportale. The winners were chosen by an international jury made up of: Kengo Kuma, Toshiki Hirano (University of Tokyo), Agostino Ghirardelli (Blengini Ghirardelli Associati), Urko Sanchez (Urko Sanchez Architects), Jean Paul Sebuhayi Uwase & Noella Nibakuze (Mass Design Group), Diana Lopez Caramazana (UN Habitat Nairobi), and a scientific committee composed of Raoul Vecchio (Balouo Salo), Sebastiano D’Urso (University of Catania), and Moussa Soaune (Senegalese institution).
On 3 May 2019 the jury declared the 30 winning projects, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, 2 honourable mentions named by Kengo Kuma and by the Balouo Salo Organisation, 5 special mentions, and 20 finalists. The designers of the 1st place project will receive a cash prize and an internship at the Kengo Kuma studio in Tokyo. Furthermore, all of the projects will be published in the competition’s official book, exhibited at events, and published in articles and magazines. The objective of the competitions is, however, also the construction of the winning project which will be evaluated by a team of expert architects and engineers from the organisation, in collaboration with Sedhiou’s authorities and institutions, in order to study its financial and technological feasibility.
The winning project will be inserted in a particularly delicate urban context. The lot is located along the bank of the Casamance River, on predominantly clay terrain and with a minimal slope. It is immersed in the surrounding environment and natural landscape, bordered by the river on one side and the city on the other. Therefore the project is intended to be a fusion of various spacial realities and must insert itself within an urban context characterised by a street market, central piazza, two sacred trees, and a nearby conference centre.
The winner of the competition is the chinese project by Changze Cai. The Second place is also won by a chinese team composed by Dongming He, Yi Xie and Zeyi Yuan. While the third prize goes to an Italian team composed of Jurij Bardelli and Federico Testa. Two honorable mentions were awarded, one nominated by Kengo Kuma for the Colombian team composed of Alejandro Saldarriaga, Bachir Benkirane and the other one by the Balouo Salo organization to the Italian team composed by Federica Linguanti and Matteo Mazzoni. In addition, 5 special mentions and 20 finalists for teams from Poland, Mexico, Colombia, the United States, Italy, Germany, France, Egypt, Brazil, Spain and Greece were assigned.
The previous editions of the competition were won by an Italian team and by a Polish team, respectively.
As is the competition’s tradition, this year too all proceeds derived from participants’ enrolment fees will be donated to the Balouo Salo humanitarian organisation, which works to find solutions to the social and environmental issues that plague African communities. These funds will be used in part for the development of social projects in particularly disadvantaged communities, and in part for the construction of the winning project. The main goal of the competition is, in fact, that of sensitizing the international community to the themes of development and emergence, as well as to hold young men and women from the international architectural landscape accountable for the responsibilities that designers have towards society, at the same time giving them an opportunity for professional growth and international visibility in order to facilitate their insertion into the professional sphere.
The competition had an exceptional turnout with over 600 projects submitted from all around the world. The projects showed great sensibility towards the theme of the competition and towards the geographical context of the project.
The winning projects can be viewed online on the competition’s official website and will be transmitted to the sector’s international media outlets. Furthermore, a special book will be published entitled Kaira Looro Architecture Competition – Peace Pavilion which will feature all of the winning projects. Proceeds from the sale of this book will also be donated to humanitarian causes.