• Women’s Opportunity Center / Sharon Davis Design

Architects: Sharon Davis Design  
Location: Kayonza,  Rwanda
Project Year: 2014
Photographer: Elizabeth Felicella
Website: www.sharondavisdesign.com

Structural Engineer: Osd Engineering
Water Management Engineer: Edesigndynamics
Water Filtration: Manna Energy Ltd.
Composting Toilets: Rec Rec Association
Bio-Gas Engineer: Cret Sarl
Rain Cisterns: Water for Life

Cook Stoves: Manna Energy Ltd.
Solar Energy: Great Lakes Energy
General Contractor: Three Code Construction
Signage: 2x4
Landscape Design: XS Space and Susan Maurer

From the Project Architect:
Located on a one-hectare site in the Kayonza district in eastern Rwanda, the Women’s Opportunity Center is energizing one small community’s subsistence-agriculture economy through female empowerment.

Women’s Opportunity Center / Sharon Davis Design

Traveling to the center’s daytime classes and events on foot, residents—many of them survivors of war—learn income-generating skills, such as animal husbandry and processing techniques that can sustain food cooperatives. As many as 300 women participate in training at any time.


Women’s Opportunity Center / Sharon Davis Design

The project is organized in a manner akin to a vernacular Rwandan village, divided into 17 human-scale pavilions whose clustered arrangements engenders familiarity and community among occupants. Erected in clay brick, the buildings center on an inviting, publicly accessible plaza where students sell food, textiles, baskets, and other products made on site. Potable water is collected from the pavilions’ corrugated roofs, while vegetation planted on two of the structures provides their interiors with extra insulation.

Women’s Opportunity Center / Sharon Davis Design

The facility is designed in collaboration with the humanitarian organization Women for Women International, and as such it poses a more expansive role for architects. In particular, the design of the Women’s Opportunity Center takes social equity into consideration, by weaving job training into the scheme.

The project is organized in a manner akin to a vernacular Rwandan village

Future students were assigned the manufacture of pavilions’ bricks, using clay extracted from nearby sites as well as a manual press method adapted from local building techniques. Hands-on construction administration improved workers’ skills, as well.

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