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Startup Lions Campus

Promoting education and knowledge

Kéré Architecture

Startup Lions Campus
By Francesco Pagliari -

The architectural program of the Startup Lions Campus, an ICT (information and communication technologies) vocational center in the semi-arid region of Turkana in northern Kenya near the lake of the same name, takes inspiration from its natural surroundings but also the traditional building materials and techniques native to the area. Rooted in the local culture, the design reflects the underlying aim of the project: to provide top-level technical and scientific training to its young students in an economically impoverished region where unemployment is rife, and open up possibilities of going on to internationally recognized professional careers without having to abandon the African continent. A proactive venture, the project is a declaration of hope and confidence in a better future.

The natural environment is woven into the architectural program. The project includes an array of different elements, from the surrounding natural landscape to the use of traditional materials and craft skills, all of which contribute to the technical and esthetic solutions that make for an extremely functional, high performance, elegant campus complex. The two features of key importance are the horizon – a distant line in this extensive landscape of low-lying shrubland – and the facility’s proximity to Lake Turkana. Framed by sparse trees dotting the gently sloping terrain, the Startup Lions Campus fits unobtrusively into its setting. Although an evident landmark, its three tower structures rising above the expanse, it also takes on the appearance of a natural feature of the landscape. The three main buildings house education and training activities – classrooms, laboratories, study and meeting rooms – while the two, smaller, one-story volumes are given over to administrative and support services. Although placed asymmetrically to one another and at different levels on the sloping terrain, the buildings making up the campus are linked by a...

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