The Kaira Looro Competition is being held again this year. Organized by the non-profit humanitarian organization Balouo Salo, this international architecture competition, mainly aimed at students and young professionals, has set the challenge of designing a “Children’s House” in a rural setting in Sub-Saharan Africa. The contest asks entrants to design a center to support children’s health and prevent malnutrition that can provide free pediatric examinations as well as develop hygiene and healthcare awareness programs for local families. The competition sets out to place a spotlight on talented emerging professionals as well as improve living conditions in developing countries through sustainable architectural models for humanitarian programs, in this case in pursuit the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 2, that is, Zero Hunger by 2030.
The center will be built in the village of Baghere in southern Senegal, an area where one in three children is at risk of malnutrition. Construction of the winning project will be done as part of a charity program by a team of volunteers and the local community. With a footprint of up to 2700 square feet (250 m2), the center will provide spaces for medical examinations, accommodation for children and their mothers, a play area, a food storage area, and an admin area that will also host meetings and training sessions. Designers have the option of making the different areas independent or interconnected. The project must also meet three key requirements: it must be easy to build using sustainable technologies suitable for self-construction, use natural and/or recycled materials that can be sourced locally, and integrate into its natural, social, and cultural settings.
The projects will be assessed by a jury made up of architects of international standing, including several Italians, together with experts in the food sector: Kengo Kuma (Kengo Kuma & Associates), Mario Cucinella (Mario Cucinella Architects), Agostino Ghirardelli (SBGA | Blengini Ghirardelli), Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT Miralles Tagliabue), Mphethi Morojele (MMA Design Studio), Alice Dietsch (AL_A), Giuseppe Mazzaglia (MVRDV), Sharon Devis (Sharon Davis Design), Ligia Nunes (Architecture Sans Frontières International), and Saad El Kabbaj + Driss Kettani + Mohamed Amine Siana. The jury will be assisted by a scientific committee, comprising Raoul Vecchio (Balouo Salo), Sebastiano D’Urso (University of Catania), Moussa Soaune (CCAA Senegal), and Mamath Ndiaye (Balouo Salo).
The competition is open to professionals from all over the world, including architects, engineers, and designers, as well as anyone else willing to take up this design challenge. Registration is open to individuals and groups – with at least one group member needing to be under the age of 35 – up to May 15, 2022. The projects must then be submitted by June 13, with the results published on July 11. One hundred percent of the registration fees will be put towards building the winning project. First, second, and third prizes will receive five thousand, two thousand, and one thousand euros respectively, along with an offer of interning with Kengo Kuma Associates, Mario Cucinella Architects, and SBGA Blengini Ghirardelli, also respectively. There will also be two honorable mentions and five special mentions, along with an announcement of 20 finalists and a Top 50 list. All the winning projects will be published in the competition’s official book, on its website, and on social networks. They’ll also be shared with the competition’s media partners, including international websites and architecture journals, as well as institutions and associations.
Photography by Balouo Salo - Humanitarian Organization, courtesy of Balouo Salo - Humanitarian Organization