An african center for awareness

“There is no path to peace, peace is the path”. Gandhi

Believing that peace is driven by a shared path means peace is not a milestone reached once but a route built every day. This notion inspired our concept for the Pavilion as a never-ending path towards peace.

Moving inside and outside the building, some parts of the path become visible from the outside and animated by people walking on it, making peace pavilion alive. As the walls rise to confine the route, three rooms are generated: one for spreading awareness, one for exhibitions and the last one for contemplation.

The overall shape develops from a 3-points scheme, with attractive forces driving walls and visitors around them, like orbiting objects moved by gravity. The path follows these generative forces: it stretches along successive bends and ties spaces together like a ribbon.

Each room has similar internal volumes but this is used differently depending on purpose. The first room, which is a public learning space, is wide and horizontal and it is also suitable for conferences or lectures. The second room, accessible from the first, is an exhibition space that can host different kinds of artwork, from pottery to painting.

The path climbs on the side of the first volume, runs around the second one and descends, digging into it. Then it goes out, finally raising to the entrance of the contemplation room. There, it winds up in a coil that sinks in water, giving the feeling of “never-ending”.

This room is the culmination of the path and is separated and elevated on the other rooms, with no direct access. This is done to keep internal space quiet in order to get yourself lost in meditation and prayer. The sand slope provides sitting space for people, that can rest and find peace. The ceiling becomes higher as you go down along with the spiral, and visitors sink in water and light at the same time. A one-way exit lets people go back to the exhibition room. The ceiling of the Contemplation Room results from an experimental study on reciprocal frame structures: wooden beams are simply placed one on the other and each element weights on the subsequent in a circle.

Sedhiou, Senegal