KIGALI CONVENTION CENTER (Rwanda)
It was upon my educational transition from Rwanda to Canada that the first glimpse of interest in design sparked in me. March 17th of 2018 is the day the 10th African Union summit occurred in Kigali the capital of Rwanda, my hometown. The conference created a huge influx of traffic in and out of the city, moving around the city was so complicated many decided to take a few days off. It is during a conversation with my civil engineer uncle that I learned despite all the congestion that took place in the city, the architecture around the convention centre hosting the summit had been prepared several years ahead to tackle these challenges.
Unlike the ubiquitous square buildings that reflect a rigid and strict pattern, the convention centre was built circular to encourage human interaction but more importantly to create and organic and genuine sense of inclusion to the large number of strangers that would visit it. The round circular dome that unifies the architecture of the building was inspired by the old kings of the Rwandan culture, these domes reacted well against the natural elements of the region and it reflected a symbol of wisdom. My interest gravitated around the architect’s ability to communicate the values of the country’s culture and identity through materials and shapes without neglecting the primary functions of this modern infrastructure. I remember without a doubt that its capacity to navigate through these constraints that caught my interest.
The convention centre in Kigali was designed to host, acquire and lead interaction between large masses of people. Inside the iconic infrastructure is located an immense conference room, two hotels, several restaurants and a large parking lot. Additionally to these interior facilities, next to the plot is Kigali heights, another building designed in a similar organic pattern made encourage more pedestrians around the location to reduce traffic jams. Around the convention centre is place a huge-round about that connects the location to three major corners of the city allowing access with a large reach. It is through these channels that we experienced remarkable congestions throughout the city although without these concepts it place much worse could’ve happened.