203 Sharon Davis Design / USA WOMEN’S OPPORTUNITY CENTRE, KAYONZA, RWANDA, 2013 The Women’s Centre, located outside Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, was built for survivors of the civil war of 1990-94. The centre was constructed with inspiration from the original royal place, which is in southern Rwanda, and consists of a central hut from which smaller units radiate in a snail-shell pattern. The old palace is a woven, thatched circular hut, a building custom that has almost disappeared from the region. The Women’s Centre interprets the circular hut with perforated bricks that provide the same opportunities for shade and natural ventilation. Innermost in the circle of units lie the classrooms, then the communal localities and a market place. Like a small village the centre thus forms the basis for the reconstruction of small farming units. The women are trained in animal husbandry, the growing of vegetables, and the production and sale of their own goods, strengthening the social infrastructure and cultural heritage. In addition there are guest residences that enable sponsors to visit the place, which also give the women the opportunity to create a wider – even a global – network. The project has been built with materials from the site, and the future users themselves made the bricks for the construction. Each year the centre helps 300 women.
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