Voi Community Library
Final Year Student Project, University of Nairobi 2014 - Kenya
Drawings, plans, elevations
In Voi and the Kenyan coast in particular, participation and attainment rates of education are still among the poorest. Impoverishment of the coastal population has threatened any recent gains and this calls for establishment of facilities and programs that educate and empower the population in entirety. The proposed library aims to link the community with the rest of the world through ICT, knowledge transfer, provide places for idea generation and window for world market possibilities. To have a community owned facility other than a foreign installation, it employs local technology and uses design principles of the dominant Taita tribe. Most of these principles are sympathetic to the environment and uses low tech local available materials that at a glance may be viewed elementary. The library as an idea was conceptualized as a living room for the community, borrowed from a large courtyard of a Taita homestead, where people meet and learn from each other, relax and also get connected to the world by ease access of worldwide information. It provides diverse spaces: silent for those trying to concentrate; quiet for those wanting some small discussion; group for those needing to work together. And an additional loose space – where people can relax, network, chat and have coffee. As a Community Centre is provides both indoor and outdoor communal spaces, for performance, exhibitions and gatherings. The library lounge allows for informal academic discussions, newspapers and magazines readings and multimedia projections for the community. The installation of the youth hackerspace gives opportunity for the locals to engage with technology and possibilities of new ideas generation and learning from the rest of the world. At a smaller scale, this model is replicable and can be installed in rural area as a network of libraries for knowledge generation and opportunities of empowerment.