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

      Balouo Salo is a charity project in in the region of Sedhiou (Casamance) in south Senegal, which will improve the living conditions of 40,000 people which now starve, because of the rising acidic water that burns cultivation fields. In this region the access to resources and basic services is prevented because of the total absence of infrastructure. Balouo Salo consists in the construction of a bridge-dam in the valley of Tanaf Bolong (Village of Tanaf, Region of Sedhiou). Its realization will desalinate the soil for its entire length (100 million square meters), making it cultivable, while the infrastructure connection between the banks will arise social and commercial relations which today are hindered by the presence of the river. Balouo Salo is a combination of words in language Mandinga (the majority culture of Casamance, characterized by the wisdom of Griot). Balouo is the union of "ba" and "louo", the first means "mother", while the second means "backyard", also the union of this words ("balouo") means "to live" and "life". So it means "backyard as mother of life ". The courtyard is the valley that will improve agriculture and life. Salo instead means "bridge" and "prayer." Balouo Salo means "to pray for life" and "a bridge for life" or vice versa. The project name was given by a Griot of the famous family “Diebate”. Balouo Salo is what 40,000 people, who suffer from hunger, need. Balouo Salo is to keep faith in life and put the hope of a better world in a life made of solidarity, friendship, sharing and harmony. Balouo Salo is waking up in the morning, knowing that there will be millions of hectares to grow and that on the other side of the Tanaf Bolong there will be a friend to hug. Balouo Salo is an opportunity for the children of the village to not go away from home to find work because the job will be created in their own home. Balouo Salo is the creation of a link between the shores, of new friendships and party between peoples. It’s the opportunity to exchange knowledge and commerce; to socialize, sell, buy and grow together. Balouo Salo is giving a future to 25,000 children, allow them to play, smile and grow the rice fields. Balouo Salo it’s to turn back home and find something to eat. Balouo Salo is to meet the demands and needs of the population who sing : "we all want the fresh water." We describe Balouo Salo in billions of worlds, but perhaps the best way is to let you see, with this video, as the population welcomed us and accompanied us during the inspection. In 400 people gathered in Sanoufily, women were singing in celebration, the children walked alongside us, the men prayed in the mosque. Everything for us to understand how important it is for they this project. It 'a project for life! )


    CWS - Culture Well of Sédhiou

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018


    Kaira Looro | Architecture for Peace

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018


    Filter for shelter

    Sédhiou / Senegal / 2018