Dakar Congress Center
Tabanlıoğlu Architects - Senegal
Drawings, plans, elevations
On the west coast of Middle Africa, Senegal is by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Senegal River borders the country to the east and north. The capital city of Senegal, Dakar is located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cap-Vert peninsula. The congress center first opened on November 2014, for the 15th Francophone Assembly where 75 world presidents met Typical geography and the natural values has been the inspiration for the project. Extraordinary, characteristic Baobab trees of Senegal are distinctive with their enormous girth. Their massive trunks can grow to circumferences of 25 meters or more. Their second distinctive feature is great longevity. Baobabs live well over a thousand years, so that they have been important landmarks in Senegal’s dry savanna plain; in oral histories baobabs are cited as loci of battles, or as marking borders between states. Surrounding water element and the girth of the masses of the project refer to the resource values. Longevity is the aim, both for the physical existence of the building and the power of the country, as well as being a source of pride for Africa. In history, kings were crowned beneath a tree, parley with envoys beneath the shadowy leaves and branches and trees mark the central public squares of polities; like being sheltered by an ancient monumental tree, the one-piece roof of the project encases the building stacks, and guards each construction dedicated to a special function against weather conditions like direct sunbeams and wind. The building complex becomes a natural harbor for the presidential meetings providing a serene and secure atmosphere. The construction joins separate units like gathering strong collective identities of divers nations, solving the needs of statesmen's assemblies and associated events. The units of the complex connected via water and bridges linking the separate blocks accentuate notions of the community’s foundation-creation, duration-continuity and harmony-order, in both social and environmental realms. The rectangular blocks are nested in a semi-transparent metal envelope as a shield protecting from strong lights and create an implication of security, protecting the interiors from sharp sun beams yet benefiting the daylight at optimum. The twisted blades forming the texture of the mesh screen behaves like sun-break and grants a shady interior without hindering the accent of transparency. The building with its elegant veil visually merges to the surrounding water and creates eternal reflections over the water. Through the placement of panels in variations at different levels and angles, the façade is perceived as an assortment of playful geometries glittering with day light, echoing the colors and tones of the sky. Align with its function as a meeting place for the presidents, the building is strong and symbolizes to be modern; it is simple but functional and finds its expression in elegance. The genuine construction gains gestures of its own and uses the language of contemporary architecture.