Set in one of the poorest suburbs of Ouagadougou, the CBF Women’s Centre provides health and educational services and builds awareness about women’s rights. The building consists mainly of two separate but closely-related blocks. A number of passive cooling measures reduce the need for air conditioning and provide a prototype that can be replicated across the region: the two buildings are raised on a platform to encourage natural ventilation and protect the interiors from dust, mud and humidity; a lightweight PVC canopy on steel trees shades the whole; and exterior openings are fitted with glass louvres. Constructed from interlocking, compressed, soil-cement bricks made on-site, the centre has its own well and photovoltaic cells. Not only does the Centre provide health care, training and education, it also provides a gathering place for the community, somewhere to share ideas and hold celebrations. Despite its unconventional appearance, the Centre has been able to generate a strong sense of belonging.
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