Winning projects of Kaira Looro Competition for a Cultural Center in Senegal

A tribute to African cultures. Hundred-years old cultures give birth to Communities, being transmitted through rhymes of those who are narrating it and interpretating tha past through wisdom.

by Balouo Salo

(1st prize)


Human’s accomplishments are the result of rituals and metamorphosis, bonding the human being to its own roots through dance, history, music, colours, flavours, materials and landscapes. From this concept the participants took inspiration for the design process of a Cultural Center in Sedhiou, Senegal.

Kaira Looro Competition 2018 - Cultural Center” is the second edition of the International Architecture Competition Kaira Looro, whose project theme for this year is the design of a Cultural Center in the city of Sedhiou, Senegal, with the aim of conserving and passing on secular traditions, currently endangered by globalization and migratory phenomena.

Kaira Looro, that in Mandingo language means "Architecture for Peace", is not just architecture, but it also represents a link to culture, spirituality and research of interiority. The main idea of the competition is to develop a deep research in the field of design in developing countries and for emergencies, but especially to give opportunities and visibility to young promises of the international architectural scene.
The competition is organized by the Nonprofit Organization Balouo Salo with the collaboration of the University of Tokyo, Kengo Kuma & Associates, Sedhiou Region and other international partners.

Winning projects have been nominated by an internationally renowned jury made up of: Kengo Kuma, Toshiki Hirano (University of Tokyo), Agostino Ghirardelli (SBGA), Azzurra Muzzonigro (Stefano Boeri Architetti), René Bouman (Mohn+Bouman Architects), Camillo Magni (ASF), Angelo Ferrara, Pilar Diez Rodriguez, Rainer Kasik (X Architekten), Sebastiano D'Urso (University of Catania), Giuseppe Mazzaglia (Kaan Architects), Ignazio Lutri (In/Arch), Raoul Vecchio (Balouo Salo).
On 20th may 2018, the jury nominated 25 awarderd projects: 1st , 2nd and 3rd prize, 2 honorable mentions nominated by Kengo Kuma , 5 mentions and 15 finalists. First prize is a cash prize and an internship at Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo. All awarded project will be published in Kaira Looro official book, hosted in exhibitions and published on articles and magazines.

The first prize of the second edition of Kaira Looro Competition goes to the project CWS - Culture Well of Sédhiou, developed by the Italian team composed by Giacomo Spanio, Sergiu Cernea, Paolo Reali, Nicola Puppin.

The second prize goes to Kaira Looro | Architecture for Peace, by another Italian team made up of Giulia Grazioli and Giulia Cascioli.

A Spanish project by Sergio González Torres, Ana Méndez Garzom and Santiago Cañete Sánchez, Filter for shelter, won the third prize. Others awarded teams come from Brazil, China, France, Kosovo, Norway, Mexico, Portugal, Canada, Poland, Romania and Greece. Last year, the first edition of Kaira Looro Competition Sacred Architecture was won by a polish team.

Also this year the entire proceeds, derived from the registration fees of the participants, were entirely donated to the humanitarian organization Balouo Salo, which operates in Africa to solve the social and environmental problems that afflict local communities.

This year, as the last one, the competition received an exceptional participation from all over the world with over 500 competing projects from over 50 different countries. The proposals showed considerable sensitivity to the theme of the competition and to the context of intervention. The event thus becomes a promoter of architectural research issues for particular social and environmental contexts, as well as a witness to humanitarian initiatives.

The winning projects are available online on the official website of the competition and will be transmitted to the international media of the sector. Moreover, a dedicated book "Kaira Looro Architecture Competition - Cultural Center" will be published with all the winning projects, and, also in this case, the proceeds will be donated for humanitarian purposes.


2nd prize:


3rd prize:


Others awarded projects:





    • Balouo Salo

      Aci Castello / Italy

      alouo Salo comes to reality from the friendship between Raoul Vecchio and Jali Diabate, two co-founder partners. They met each other pushed by the odiern president’s motivation, Raoul, to put his architectural skills at disposal of needy communities , and Jali’s, senegalese musician and interpreter, strong will to help his native community. They met by chance, fortune perhaps, and spent a long time talking about their ambitions, finally sharing values such as friendship, solidarity and brotherhood. The strong bond is moved from a common and spontaneous call for free help , leading to plan a first inspection of Baghere, Jali’s native village. Since from first mission, they came upon several difficulties in terms of nourishing, health and economy, so that the two decided to establish a no profit association starting with an ambitious project such as the building of Bridge between Sanoufily and Sambacounda Santo Villages. Raoul begins the planning of an engeneering work and sets all his skills available, involving professionals and academics from all over the world. At the moment they came back to Senegal to show the humanitarian project, they asked a local elder to help them find a name for their project and association. The man, after a long and silent reflection, looked at sky and said: "Balouo Salo”. Known the meaning, Raoul and Jali decided to adopt the name. Later on the association received the ONLUS state upon Ministerial decision. "Ba”means “sea” and “mom”, while “Salo” means “courtyard”, as for meeting place among communities. “Balouo” means “to live” and “life” at the same time. “Salo” means bridge and prayer. The sentence has twice meaning of both “ pray to live” and “bridge for life” in Mandinga language. Goals Balouo Salo aims to deal with humanitarian and environmental emergencies within developing countries donating projects based on participation, equality and solidarity principles. We don’t receive any money and free operate upon a call for altruism. As a matter of facts, volunteers personally take part in activities, just trying to satisfy general needs of communities and solve problems affecting families within intervention areas. Our multidiscplinary orientation (architecture, engeneering, training, psicology, human rights etc.) allows us a wide intervention and creates transversal processes devoted to the improvement of general life, health and food conditions. Our contribution in societies building’s based on values such as solidarity, freindship, love, peace and cooperation between people and cultures, respecting cutoms, genders and religions. In addtion to our practical intervention with respective projects, we econourage activities on the safeguard of environement, culture and customs as far as preservation of Fundamental Human Rights, focusing the attention of international community through the organization of events.)

    CWS - Culture Well of Sédhiou 5

    CWS - Culture Well of Sédhiou

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018

    Kaira Looro | Architecture for Peace 0

    Kaira Looro | Architecture for Peace

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018

    Filter for shelter 0

    Filter for shelter

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018