The Learning and Sports Center

  • Prize
    Winner in Architectural Design - Educational
  • Company/Firm
    General Architecture Collaborative
  • Lead Designer
    General Architecture Collaborative
  • Design Team
    James Setlzer, Yutaka Sho, Leighton Beaman
  • Architect
    General Architecture Collaborative
  • Interior Designer
    General Architecture Collaborative
  • Const. Company
    General Architecture Collaborative
  • Photo Credit
    Katie Garner
  • Location
    Masoro Sector, Rulindo District, Northern District, the Republic of Rwanda
  • Project Date
    2021

The Learning and Sports Center is located among the rolling hills of rural Masoro in Rwanda where nonprofit design firm has been working for the past 14 years. The center includes a library, classrooms, IT education rooms, exercise spaces, community teaching gardens, outdoor seating, a basketball court and soccer field, all of which are accessible to the community members free of charge.

During the construction period, we hired 390 builders from the surrounding neighborhoods, 54% of whom were women. They received pension contributions, breakfast and lunch, as well as safety training and equipment. The construction site itself was designed to be a classroom where community builders were taught techniques using sustainable and durable Modern Brick construction. Local materials such as grasses and bark were used to create screening surfaces, and off-the-grid infrastructures such as rainwater harvesting were implemented. The center and surrounding landscape were used to provide seating and define an existing soccer field which is today used for sport and community events. Community members built the Center, gather here today, and decide how to use it collectively as a commons.

Bio
General Architecture Collaborative (GAC) has been working with communities in East Africa for over a decade. With offices in Rwanda and the United States, we have worked to built partnerships with local communities, and create a network of researchers, innovators and NGOs, committed to inclusive practices which foreground education, social justice and environmental responsibility. Our approach utilizes the entire design and construction process to serve those most often overlooked by design practices and global development.

Other prizes
Metropolis Game Changer 2020 Virginia AIA Honor Award 2020 Architizer A+ Winner 2021 Architizer A+ Winner 2022 Dezeen Design Award Finalist 2021 Dezeen Design Award Finalist 2022 SARA NY Honor Award 2020 SARA NY Honor Award 2022 Architect's News Paper Small Firm of the year (NE) 2021