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Competition: Maternity Centre, Senegal

The competition will deliver a new ‘innovative’ community healthcare building which could be used to upgrade maternity facilities in a variety of locations within the Casamance region
The competition will deliver a new ‘innovative’ community healthcare building which could be used to upgrade maternity facilities in a variety of locations within the Casamance region© BALOUOSALO

An open international contest – judged by Kengo Kuma – has been announced for a new €70,000 maternity centre concept for rural southern Senegal 

The annual Kaira Looro Competition – now in its seventh edition – invites students and young architects to draw up concepts for a new 350m2complex to support mothers before, during and after childbirth in Senegal’s southern Casamance region.

The Maternity Centre project aims to deliver a new ‘emblematic, cosy and professional’ self-build healthcare space which harnesses locally sourced natural and recycled materials, utilises sustainable construction methods and is designed to integrate into its rural setting.

Last year’s contest for a €70,000 primary school in Senegal was won by Artha Krisiantara from Indonesia.

According to the brief: ‘In Africa, one in 16 women risks dying giving birth to a new life, while in other parts of the world, thanks to prenatal care and specialised assistance during childbirth, this risk affects one in 35,000 women.

‘The challenge of 2024's edition is to design a “Maternity Centre” in Southern of Senegal. We are looking for a ‘Maternity Centre’ facility where women can feel safe, receive essential medical care, and enjoy optimal sanitary conditions as well as the presence of qualified medical staff.

Senegal is a West African country home to around 15 million people. It was formerly a Portuguese and then French colony, before winning independence in 1960. From 1980 to 2005 the Casamance region – named after the Casamance river – was the focus of a bloody separatist conflict.

The Healthcare Centre competition will deliver a new ‘innovative’ community healthcare building which could be rolled out in a variety of locations within the Casamance region without the need for ‘qualified personnel or construction companies.’ Concepts may focus on any rural village of the contestant’s choice in southern Senegal, should be no larger than 350m2in size and be deliverable with a materials budget of €70,000.

The contest organiser Kaira Looro – meaning ‘architecture for peace’ in Mandinka – has held six previous competitions in recent years, inviting international teams to design sustainable structures for various rural communities in Senegal, West Africa.

Concepts should include a reception and waiting room, a staff office, consultation room, wards, delivery room, operating theatre and neonatal observation area. Proposals will need to provive ‘comfort and safety for both pregnant women and newborn babies, as well as for healthcare personnel.’

The 2022 Kaira Looro contest for a €30,000 children’s centre in Baghere, Senegal was won by Ziyu Guo from China. In 2021, the competition sought concepts for a new €18,000 refuge for women in Baghere and was won by Juan Pablo Lopez Isabella from Uruguay with a concept for a rammed earth structure featuring a large circular gap in the roof allowing light into the main social spaces.

Judges for the latest contest will include Benedetta Tagliabue of Barcelona-based EMBT Miralles Tagliabue; Kengo Kuma from Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo; Raul Pantaleo of TAM Associati in Venice; and Emmanuelle Moureaux, founder of emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design in Tokyo.

The overall winner, to be announced on 9 July, will receive €5,000 and the project taken forward for construction. A second prize of €2,000, third prize of €1,000, and two honorable mentions each worth €100 will also be awarded.

How to apply


The registration deadline is 14 May and submissions must be completed by 11 June


Until 28 February: €60
1 March to 8 April: €90
9 April to 14 May: €120

Contact details

Associazione Onlus Balouo Salo
Via Timparosa, n.9
Acicastello (CT)

Email :
Tel: + 39 3406675955



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