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The winners of Kaira Looro 2023 competition to design an architectural model for a primary school in Sub-Saharan Africa have been published

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Kaira Looro International Architecture Competition
Winning project of the Kaira Looro Competition – 2023 Edition. Project by Artha Krisiantara from Indonesia

Once again, the competition organised by the humanitarian organisation Balouo Salo is one of the most popular competitions of its kind thanks to its humanitarian themes and social aims, attracting participation by young architects and students from all over the world. The aim of the edition is to discover a new school model to reinvent the education system in developing countries. The projects were judged by a jury composed of internationally renowned architects.

The winners of the 2023 edition of the well-known international architecture competition “Kaira Looro”, which was organised by the humanitarian organisation “Balouo Salo”, have been announced. Once again, this year we dealt with the important issue of defending and promoting human rights, and in particular the right to education, as well as Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

In fact, the right to education is a fundamental and inalienable human right, as well as a principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet for over 600 million children around the world this right is not guaranteed due to fragile economic, political and health conditions and the presence of conflicts, natural disasters, stereotypes or socio-cultural prejudices. In Sub-Saharan Africa, most schools are unable to offer services that protect students, make them feel safe and encourage the fulfilment of their potential. Without a quality education, children are unable to acquire the skills necessary to face life's problems and to find employment. They are also unable to participate in the decisions that affect them, thus putting their own future at risk.

The 2023 edition was held on the basis of these considerations and was aimed at identifying a model of school architecture capable of protecting this right, improving the psycho-physical and hygienic conditions of students in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and improving learning and teaching mechanisms. The other objectives of the competition are to increase the visibility of emerging architectural talent and to support the event’s humanitarian aims, as 100% of the proceeds are donated to Balouo Salo’s charity projects.

The announcement required participants to design an architecture project of a maximum of 650 square meters, which can be easily built in self-construction mode by the community, makes use of sustainable materials and technologies and is compatible with the environmental and cultural context of the rural areas in southern Senegal. Participants had to think of a spatial distribution that contained classrooms, a canteen, offices, warehouses, areas for educational laboratories and toilets.

The project area was any rural area in southern Senegal where Balouo Salo has been operating since 2014 with the implementation of various projects to promote access to drinking water, schooling, sustainability and human rights. This is one of the least developed areas of the country: poverty affects about 90% of the population; sanitary conditions are among the worst nationwide and only 8% of the population has access to drinking water. 70% of the population lives in houses without access to electricity. These conditions have a direct impact on the lives of minors and on student drop-out rate after secondary school, which is estimated to be around 60%.

The competition announced in January 2023 was open to young architects, engineers and designers from all over the world. The received entries were evaluated by a jury composed of prominent architects including: Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates), Agostino Ghirardelli (SBGA | Blengini Ghirardelli), Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT Miralles Tagliabue), Mphethi Morojele (MMA Design Studio), Manuel Aires Mateus (Aires Mateus Architects), Raul Pantaleo (TAM Associati), Mphethi Morojele (MMA Design Studio), Emmanuelle Moureaux (Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design), Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani and Mohamed Amine Siana , as well as a scientific committee composed of Raoul Vecchio (Balouo Salo), Sebastiano D’Urso (Università di Catania), Dario Distefano (Archicart), Mulaye Diebate (Balouo Salo) and other experts in sustainable architecture and humanitarian interventions.

On 10 July, the organisation announced the 50 winning projects which include 1st prize, 2nd prize, 3rd prize, 2 honourable mentions, 5 special mentions, 20 finalists and 20 Top 50.

The winning team will receive a cash prize of €5,000 and an internship at the prestigious Tokyo studio Kengo Kuma & Associates. The teams in 2nd and 3rd place will receive €2,000 and €1,000 respectively, as well as internships at EMBT Miralles Tagliabue studio in Spain and SBGA Blengini Ghiradelli studio in Italy. Winning projects will also be published on the website and in the official book of the competition, shared with the competition’s Global Media Partners as well as institutional partners.

The winner of the 2023 edition is Artha Krisiantara from Indonesia. The second prize was won by a team from Israel made up of Rotem Fintz and Niv Arbiv. Finally, the third prize was won by Youssef Hamza and Anthony Mancuso from Tunisia.

Image: Winning project of the Kaira Looro Competition – 2023 Edition. Project by Artha Krisiantara from Indonesia

Image: Kaira Looro Competition – 2023 Edition - 2nd place. Project by Rotem Fintz and Niv Arbiv from Isreael

Image: Kaira Looro Competition – 2023 Edition - 3rd place. Project by Anthony Mancuso from Tunisia

Two honourable mentions were nominated, one chosen by Kengo Kuma and the other by Balouo Salo. The teams are from Poland and France respectively. The first is composed of from Poland project by Michał Pietrusiewicz, Justyna Błasiak, Krzysztof Afeltowicz. The second is composed of Tristan Narcy.

Finally, five special mentions were awarded to team projects from Italy, Usa and Vietnam. The other awarded projects come from across the world.

In addition to raising awareness among the international community of emergency issues in developing countries, the competition also aimed to make young architects aware of the responsibilities designers have towards society while offering them an opportunity for professional growth and international visibility to ease their entry into the labour market through prizes and internships at international studios.

As per event tradition, this year 100% of the proceeds derived from registration fees are donated to the humanitarian organisation Balouo Salo and the funds obtained will be used to develop charitable projects to improve the living conditions of the most needy communities, with a particular focus on public health, education and access to drinking water. Balouo Salo is currently planning the development of the winning projects of the 2021 and 2022 editions.

This edition achieved exceptional participation with 955 project proposals from all over the world, with the greatest participation from: Italy, Turkey, Poland, India, China, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, USA, South Korea, Colombia, France, as well as almost all other countries around the world.

The full list of winning projects can be found on the competition’s official website.

As for past editions, the official volume “Kaira Looro Architecture Competition - Primary School” will be published with a full list of winning projects, with 100% of the proceeds once again being donated to humanitarian purposes.

Page with awarded projects: https://www.kairalooro.com/competition_elementaryschool/winningproject.html 

By Naser Nader Ibrahim

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