Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1995.
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.
Davidson, Cynthia and Ismail Serageldin, editors. Architecture Beyond Architecture. London: Academy Editions, 1995.
More that 1,600 projects have been examined and debated since the Aga Khan Award for Architecture was founded in 1977 with the intention of exploring the direction of architectural projects in Muslim societies and encouraging a high standard of design. In this sixth cycle of the Award, twelve projects are premiated. Each is vastly different from the others, and together they illustrate not only the diverse programs architecture is being asked to address in Third World countries today, but also the degree to which modernization, or what some may term 'westernization', is influencing the built environment of rapidly industrializing societies. Together these projects raise many questions: what is the role of the West in Muslim societies, or, for that matter, in developing society? What is the role of architecture in Muslim societies? What constitutes a definition of architecture in developing countries? Architecture beyond Architecture is the sixth in a series of books under the general title Building in the Islamic World Today.