Built to house the Alliance Française, and to provide the provincial town of Kaolack with much needed library space, meeting areas, and classrooms, as well as performance and entertainment areas, the mission of the Franco-Sénégalaise Cultural Centre is to promote knowledge and understanding of the French language and culture. Its architect, Patrick Dujarric, grouped the various functional spaces of the institution on varied levels in a 3,212 square meter rectangular space whose built area covers only 750 square meters, thereby allotting generous space for outdoor activity. This arrangement of functions is in keeping with the traditional style of assembling public structures in local villages. The plan and massing are simple and ingenious in the way they integrate indoor and outdoor space, but intricately complicated in the use of iconography, ornament, and decoration. These designs synthesise traditional patterns in an entirely new way, re-integrating art into the very structure of architecture. The jury found the centre to be an impressive building, a modern complex in an African country that seems truly of its place.
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