Adjacent to Rwanda’s picturesque Nyungwe National Forest lies the isolated village of Banda. Located on property donated by members of the community in a valley of terraced farmland between two rivers, a modern collection of community buildings, designed by SPG Architects, will address the concerns of the villagers as conveyed to Kageno team members. The three largest issues facing Banda are 1) Healthcare, 2) Education and 3) Job opportunity. The new group of planned buildings will accommodate much needed facilities in an architectural gesture that gathers community members and visitors alike along the main road to the National Forest. Until now, the nearest healthcare clinic was a 3-hour walk and the nearest hospital a 6-hour trek. With more orphans than any community should have, nursery school classrooms will provide education and hope for the future. The Innovative Community Center (ICC) will provide gathering spaces for community events and for the production of local crafts that will supplement meager agricultural earnings. Finally, increased eco-tourism is possible with the first facilities in the region serving outside visitors while providing incentives to preserve the local ecology and provide much needed influx of outside money.
The buildings that serve to gather the people of Banda into a coherent public space include a community center, a library, an office facility, a kitchen and outdoor space. This dynamic assembly serves as the apex of the “V” that reaches toward the village. One leg of the radial form is comprised of a health center and pharmacy. Another radiating group of buildings are comprised of 4 classrooms serving 300 children. These two groups of buildings lie on either side of the main road while the 3rd extension of built forms is comprised of a visitor’s center and bungalows for visitors and permanent staff. Newly planted trees reinforce the relationship between the various components of Kageno Rwanda. Inspiration for the site design stemmed from images of the landscape in Rwanda, that when seen from afar appear like patchwork. The roofs of many of the buildings SPG Architects designed weave together in an attempt to create a new landscape. As these roofs overlap interior and exterior spaces, they create interstitial spaces that act as places for people to gather. As untraditional as the buildings are, they do incorporate building materials and methods that are locally familiar. This will allow villagers to provide the labor as part of their effort to participate in the creation of this life-changing project. Natural ventilation will be provided through a system of double-roofs and louvered openings, helping maintain a degree of comfort in the tropical environment. Local vernacular materials such as brick, stucco, and corrugated metal roofs are the primary building components. While the building materials are familiar, the site planning and building forms are energized and modern, and serve as a symbol of Kageno’s message of a hopeful future.
The health center and pharmacy are completed and the nursery school will be completed by late May.
Funding opportunities are still available for the Community Center Library, Kitchen and the Eco-tourism lodge – crucial components of the Kageno complex