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Women's House

Location: Baghere, Senegal Africa

One of the most striking features that can be perceived in order to understand the dynamics of Senegalese society, and especially Baghere, is that gender differentiation drives most activities, in which women are "destined" for household tasks and the sale of products in local markets, while men do the most difficult work in the fields.
Nevertheless, it is women who support and manage the villages, towns, and cities of the region. It is here, where the urban and spatial configuration of the villages comes into play, where we can find "undefined" meeting and recreation spaces within a SINGLE BUILDING, due to the relationship and interrelationship of several of them, giving rise to the generation of activities led by women anywhere in the village, to such an extent that the shade of a small tree is ideal for the encounter of the inhabitants. In these modest places of almost thoughtless growth, decisions are made, people play, dialogue, and above all, where connections between people arise. In general, women are responsible for bringing life to society through these "indefinite" spaces and helping shape the territory.
From the above, understanding these concepts is the axis and the spearhead of our design proposal. The idea of the project is to give importance to these tiny spaces between buildings, places with an enormous symbolic burden that seems generated spontaneously, but that are directly and indirectly connected.
Through the development of a matrix module, we can generate different spatial and semi-spatial configurations, which will result in the “undefined" places we are looking for. It is about seeking constructive efficiency and an optimal indoor-outdoor spatial relationship. This is where the idea of growth comes into play. The modules can be replicated almost infinitely in different places in sub-Saharan Africa. Due to the ease of construction, it is through the union of wooden pillars and planks, and the elevation of buildings on platforms, which will aid in the prevention of emergencies due to natural disasters. The inhabitants of the region can replicate these modules according to their needs. The ease of finding these building materials and their ancestral knowledge will facilitate future repairs with local labor.
Each module will have a bioclimatic component that understands the needs of the region. Using cross ventilation, double heights, lattice for diffuse lighting, shading, and rainwater collection
through the decks will help maintain optimal levels of comfort inside the spaces. In this way, The House of Women will be a pleasant place for the natives, which will help shape the building appropriate for them.
As far as the functional component is concerned, the modules are arranged so that the toilets and the administrative area are separate from the other services, where the common activities are carried out. Similarly, the bathrooms on the leeward side and the administration on the windward side create among them the common area where the rest of the buildings will be arranged and where the main activities will take place. Each module will have a size in plan and a height that corresponds to the activities that will be carried out there, based on the anthropometric measures of operation.

The women’s town rise with a local stone’s foundation, 0.30 mts. Deep by 0.40 mts. Wide. a wood platform builds above with laterite stone 0.50 mts. high, the structure of the modules will be a Rosewood beam assembled with a particular mouth joint and attached with screws. The walls of wild bamboo, as well as the textiles made by the villagers, will complement the walls, and the fixed upper windows and the doors will be made of laminated bamboo and local wood. The roof will be based on a 0.05x0.08x4 mts rosewood base structure complemented with wild bamboo and a layer of straw material.

As for the structural component, the modules will be led by a system of pillars and wooden beams, on a platform that in turn is connected to the ground by stone shoes. All this will be connected by bolted joints. The exterior walls of the modules are configured by blinds and textile elements constructed by the inhabitants of the area. Some of these walls will be free, and it will be the women who design and modify them with writings and drawings that reflect their past, present, and future. In this way, the history of society, and above all its history, can be embodied. This simple activity will make buildings a living extension of the culture of the region. It will also make the buildings permeable, as they can be accessed from different points, both visually and physically, making the project a mutable entity that changes over time.

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