• The Assinie-Mafia Catholic Church / Koffi & Diabaté Architectes

Architects: Koffi & Diabate Architectes  
Location: Assinie-Mafia, Abidjan,  Ivory Coast
Project Team: Guillaume Koffi, Issa Diabaté
Interior Décor: Koffi & Diabaté Architectes
Project Year: 2008
Photographer: François-Xavier Gbré
Website: www.koffi-diabate.com

The small town of Assinie-Mafia is typified by modesty, low cost structures and a bright hopeful community are synonymous to such African developing towns. Tropical heat is always a concern in such environments and sustainability is a major concern to the architects. Tapping into the zeitgeist of the context, Koffi & Diabaté Architectes designed a magnificent church which transforms a practical set of building materials into an inspirational house of prayer.

The project was initiated by Guillame Koffi and Issa Diabaté , who both having secondary residences in Assinie Mafia, donated the architecture, as part of their benevolent work through the local NGO they joined to help build the city. As one approaches the building, its front facade sprouts from the ground in an elegant triangular structure. Against the white sands from the contextual beach, the church stands tall and majestic.

The Assinie-Mafia Catholic Church / Koffi & Diabaté Architectes

Monumental timber trusses hold up the corrugated iron sheets, with double slits lining the top and base of the roofing transversely to allow for cross ventilation and diffused day light into the interior. The repetition of the trusses incites an ethereal aspiration to the soul, placing man against the magnitude of the divine. The dignity of the aisle is maintained as well as articulated by round orbs that act as artificial lighting fixtures. The site plan provides a simple yet functional solution to designing a dignified church. The spaces follow a symmetry that is coherent, an attribute shared in all orthodox religious buildings but not always admirable. It flows in a linear arrangement culminating at the Sacrist where the Priest resides over the main affairs. Parking is to be designated to the right side of the church accommodating for the Congregation’s informal activities.

The symmetry not only appears from the planning level. It is more accurately felt in the interior elevation of the altar. With the maximal use of floor space, benches align either edges of the church while the roof extends outwards for head room and environmental response. The triangular timber and steel framing also achieves a cost effective structure for emerging communities.

Transcendentally, the triple volume space transports you into a humbled state of mind. The spectacle of light in the austere interiors maintain dignity with checkered tiles in brown shades and extensive use of timber. It is through an understanding of technical attributes in building materials that the project grabs our attention as a champion for the faith, the faith in African prosperity.

  • Azur Pavilion/ Koffi & Diabaté Architectes

  • For this project, Koffi and Diabate Architects created a pavilion that mediates in a holiday home situated at the seafront. With three main structures, a well-landscaped courtyard and a large swimming pool, the development incorporates a range of facilities including African and European cuisi...

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