DONNE DES L
The Salvation Army in DRC runs number of schools, community programmes and health care centres that contribute to improve the local population’s living conditions. The organisation wishes to emancipate itself from non-sustainable international funding and plans to value one of its own plots in the city centre to support part of its programmes.
Physalide carried out a preliminary study for a new building hosting commercial areas and housing in order to allow the Salvation Army to extend the discussion with its local architects.
The land is located in a dense urban fabric in the city centre of Kinshasa, which makes it particularly attractive for developing a rental building. The commercial areas, that can be subdivided or regrouped according to the tenants’ needs, are opened onto the street.
Kinshasa is filled with examples of buildings whose windows have been obstructed by neighbour constructions. Indeed, the absence of clear urbanistic laws leads many project owners to build on the plot’s boundaries. The site being surrounded by neighbours on its other edges, it was wise to offset the building from them and to take profit of this resulting space for the future tenants’ vehicle access.
Different typologies of flats coexist on the upper levels, meeting the great diversity of needs and responding to the special context. For example, the apartments of the building’s south wing are oriented towards the courtyard in order to avoid uncomfortable outlook on the adjacent plot.
The main challenge in the tropics consists of achieving a fresh interior atmosphere and avoiding using air conditioning. Therefore, the apartments were designed with particular care to promote natural ventilation and to reduce solar gains: dual-aspect living / dining room, low building depth, succession of maximum two rooms, light and ventilation shafts, shading through outdoor passageways and balconies, etc. A planted garden would serve as an outdoor place of life in order to reduce the facades’ heating through reverberation and would be one of the rare planted areas downtown.
A portion of the plot had been rented to a real estate developer. At the contract’s end, considering the poor construction quality executed by him, it could be envisioned to replace it to create a coherent ensemble that would be adapted to the climate and grouped around a qualitative green area.