THREAD - Artist Residency and Cultural Center | The Plan
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THREAD - Artist Residency and Cultural Center

Toshiko Mori Architect

THREAD - Artist Residency and Cultural Center
By Francesco Pagliari -

Located in the rural village of Sinthian in the hinterland of Senegal, Thread – designed pro bono by Toshiko Mori - is an artist residency and cultural centre. Donated by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, it is both an architecture and community proper whose programme and building techniques create a weave of shapes, spaces and environments to meet a range of community needs. 

The Thread complex is designed to host two resident artists for a period of study and creativity. The studio has nearby living quarters with kitchen and bedroom. Exhibition spaces for the artists’ work have been created nearby. Also an events venue, the Centre is organized into a series of open and covered spaces flowing one into the other. These include two elliptical-shaped open courts separated by a central covered meeting and community events space. The Centre’s social dimension for visitors and residents is wide and varied, the open and closed areas designed for meetings, a market place, dancing and other cultural events. 

This social dimension is reflected in the construction itself and in the innovative take on vernacular architecture coupled with locally sourced materials familiar to local craftsmanship. The thatched roof - a typically feature of the nearby village - stretches across a bamboo support structure resting on columns. As well as creating a long flowing structure reaching out into the landscape, the curves and dips convey rainwater into two collector channels on opposite sides of the Centre and then to two large covered water tanks. Other channels “thread” their way around the courtyards draining rainwater from the gently sloped surface of the inner courts, further increasing water supplies for the community and its animals. 

In an environment of fierce sunlight, shade and open air, walls in locally produced bricks made of clay and mud form excellent heat absorbent media. Relief from the heat...

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