Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Design Kigali, Rwanda by Patrick Schweitzer & Associés

The canyons for education built with traditional techniques and modern forms

Project Specs


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Appreciation towardsPatrick Schweitzer & Associés for providing the following description:


背景 | Context

Patrick Schweitzer & Associés承接了2012年3月卢旺达政府开启的基加利建筑学院新建项目。这所学校占地面积5600平方米,可以容纳600名学生。它坐落在卢旺达大学的科学技术学院的Nyarugenge区。项目建设开始于2017年初,并于2017年底完成。

 The architecture Practice Patrick Schweitzer & Associés responded to the international call launched by the Government of Rwanda in March 2012 for the construction of the new Faculty of architecture in Kigali. This school covers an area of 5 600 square meters and has the capacity to accommodate 600 students. It is located in the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology campus in Nyarugenge District. The works started in early 2017 and were completed at the end of 2017.

▼项目整体一览,overview of the project

地域 | Territory


The building is the result of a global site analysis. Its architecture is inspired by the territory and by colors and shapes found in Nature. The four natural elements are represented in the conception of the building: Fire: orange color, Water: inner garden, Air: circulations, and Earth: lava rock and rammed earth. We created prisms inspired by Rwanda landscape and topography. We broke their volume down to create fault lines and canyons. A central fault line emerges: the outdoor living space. It opens the project to the KIST entrance, to the valley and to the city.

▼建筑的体量被打破,棱镜造型来源于卢旺达的景观和地形;the architectural volumes are broken into small pieces to create prisms that inspired by Rwanda landscape and topography

▼中央的“断层”是室外的起居空间,它将项目向着山谷和城市打开;the central fault line becomes the outdoor living space that opens the project to the valley and to the city

▼橙色的棱镜形屋顶成为项目最醒目的特色,the orange prisms become the most outstanding characteristic of the project

▼屋顶由小径连接,the roofs are connected with paths

▼棱镜形屋顶细部,details of the prism roof


共享建筑知识 | The sharing of architectural knowledge


The Practice was determined to build a project which is by itself a pedagogic tool. Indeed, the architecture shows the building process to the students. It is also fundamental for the aspiring young architects to be encouraged to use local resources.

▼花园一览,overview of the garden


减少环境影响 | Reducing environmental impact


By using local resources and materials such as lava rock, rammed earth, raw or painted concrete, by reducing imports, eliminating technical solutions which are difficult to build or maintain, we reduced the environmental impact of the building.

▼项目使用当地的山岩,构造厚重的外立面;use of local lava rock makes solid elevations


简单的技术方案 | Simple technical solutions


Simple technical solutions to build and to maintain were favored. There is no elevator but a large and comfortable ramp to get to the second floor. There is no heating and air-conditioning equipment but an efficient natural ventilation system. The architecture is used for regulating thermal atmospheres. Properly designed daylighting provides healthier and more pleasant conditions. It also reduces demand for artificial lighting which can reduce running costs. The concrete walls are insulated, sealed and plastered from the outside with the aim of controlling the solar heat gain. The building is also fitted with rainwater harvesting and storage units.

▼一个宽敞舒适的斜坡通向二层, a large and comfortable ramp to get to the second floor

▼二层入口,entrance of the second floor


两层的空间组织 | Two-storeys organization


The ground floor includes logistic and school facilities: administration, laboratories, workshops, seminar rooms and auditorium. On the first floor, thirteen prisms house architecture studios, classrooms and pin-up spaces. Each room has a distinct identity, reflected in its volume, color and view. The outdoor living space which includes stands and benches favors meetings, exchanges and performances. The two parts of the building are connected by several footbridges. On the one hand they allow a joint between the different parts of the project and on the other hand it gives a dynamic visual identity.

▼大楼的两部分由几座人行天桥相连,the two parts of the building are connected by several footbridges

▼两个棱镜建筑体量之间的户外空间,the outdoor space in between two prisms volumes

▼位于首层的行政空间,space for school facilities on the ground floor


传统的当地技术 | Traditional and local skills


Carpentry and locksmith workshops were installed on the site. Ceilings and joineries are made of local wood, slabs were cast-in-place and traditional removable formwork were also used, thus fostering local sectors. There have been up to 400 people working on the building’s site.

▼棱镜体量内部空间一览,overview of the interior space of the prism

▼建造采用了传统的方式,屋顶可以清晰地看到其构造;the construction process uses traditional techniques,and one can see the structure clearly from the roof


两个方向:教育与环境 | Two vectors: education and environment


The agency selected a strong design with complex shapes. The architecture is based on the environment and pedagogic aspirations. Halfway between traditional and contemporary architecture, the building is based on a simple and didactic architecture in an African developing country where population is expected to double by 2050.

▼每个棱镜空间在造型、颜色上都有细微的不同,有着自己的特色;each prism varies in form and color

▼项目夜景,night view of the project

▼设计概念示意图,diagram for the design concept

▼首层平面,ground floor plan

▼二层平面,the upper floor plan

▼剖面,the sections

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