A JOURNEY OF LIFE - Sacred architecture
Drawings, plans, elevations
The inspiration for the design as a journey of life springs from an analysis of the baobab tree, which is sacred to the Mandika and the Senegalese People at large. A scaling system inspired by the fractal patterns of the baobab tree was adopted, which references the branches of the tree as the form generator for the design. The resulting pattern is reminiscent of life and the plethora of events that coherently shape it. For example, through the numerous entrances a variety of possibilities in one life is expressed. The movement of an individual through the spaces is an interactive process, celebrating a deep culture of salutation and communal engagement. To the Mandika, the baobab is a timeless sacred existence, an aspect it shares with the sacred laterite megalithic mounds across Senegal and West Africa. This aspect of timelessness is achieved through the continuous flowing spaces in the proposal, which do not seem to have an end. The continuity is also achieved vertically, by elements that stretch to the sky creating a sense of infinity as eyes such for the top from the ground. The materials used also draw sacredness through the use of laterite and laterised concrete to give the design an aging aesthetic just as the megalithic mounds. Harmony with the surrounding is achieved through the woven reeds (also commonly used in Tanaf) to create screens framed by the post and lintel elements in the proposal. As an emblem for peace, the design's materiality and tactility presents possibilities of transitory layers in life, which despite their differences, peacefully tell a story of oneness and evoke introspection amongst the people.