THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

 

Thatched and lightly touching the West African earth it serves, this Toshiko Mori Architects’ Arts Centre in Senegal is a welcomed sensitive response to the area’s sometimes unforgiving terrain. Conceived as a cultural centre that provides a hub for local artists and artisans, the sustainable building efforts are truly exemplary. From water collection, reinvigoration of local community and commerce, to providing a place for international artists to convene, be inspired and make, this hub is essentially a nucleus of culture and activity.

Designed by Japanese-born, and NYC-based, Tokisho Mori Architects (TMA), the approach to the site is quite unique. The design was selected for a showcase at the 2014 Venice Biennale and has won numerous awards, among them, the AIA Chapter award. The fusion of local builder’s knowledge and craftsmanship, together with Mori’s innovative approach, attest that this pro bono project is undeniably the work of love. TMA’s work is a constant pursuit of innovation, creative reflection and a means to engage fully with client and space. The connection between designer, space and user is so tightly interwoven, and respectfully executed, which in itself, is unique. The resulting design works are undeniably the happy birth-children of such nurturing.

 

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

THREAD: Artists Residency in Senegal by Toshiko Mori | Yellowtrace

 

Opened in March 2015, this project is all about connecting and connection, which it does effortlessly and in a beautifully orchestrated manner. The connection and nod to the historical and geographical uniqueness of this area is celebrated in such an abundant, yet subtle way. The roof is designed to act as a water catchment for reuse on site. Inverted and thatched, this beautiful sculptural piece filters and funnels much needed rain into two main containers at either end of the building. At full capacity, this beautiful dancing structure can collect up to 40% of the village’s water needed for their own domestic use. Made by the local builders, the construction utilises their inert knowledge of bamboo and other locally sourced materials.

This beautifully light and sensitively conceived building was funded by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, together with local leadership in Sinthian. Brought to life through a program called THREAD, this West African area becomes a backdrop to creativity as a place for artists, writers, dancers and musicians. The concept is driven from a place of transparency, with the building itself reflecting this philosophy. Balanced with a series of built podiums painted in white, the natural material of the roof structure mirrors the colours of the surrounding region and geometric forms in the landscape, standing as the ultimate stage for the community to coming together. Pretty beautiful.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. Photography by Iwan Baan, AKLK and Thatcher Cook.]

 

About The Author

Bronwyn Marshall
Contributor

Spawn from the peaceful pastures of Adelaide, Bronwyn is inspired by the undiscovered. With travel as her main muse and together with a belief that architecture and design can facilitate a better world, she currently finds herself living and working in NYC. An Architect and designer of over eight years, she thrives on interpreting other people’s passions into manifested realities. Listening to and seeing new worlds through her own lens has seen her work and study on an international scale; in Europe, Australia and currently, in the US. Influenced by minimalism in all its glory, in practice and everyday life, her obvious influencers are notably the Scandinavian and Japanese design greats. Her work spans residential, hospitality, retail, health, education and industrial portfolios and has a strong passion for Humanitarian work and the real possibilities of design thinking in the developing world. She thinks big and laterally, and open to musings from all directions. Naive or otherwise, she really does believe design can make a difference.

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