Architecture as a way to promote rights and social equity

The role of Architecture in the promotion of human and social rights is nowadays particularly crucial and, for sure, it deserves some careful consideration.

For that reason, YACademy is firmly encouraging a culture of research on this topic through its course in Architecture for Humanity.

In the 2022 edition of this course, YACademy’s students had the opportunity to work on a sensitive topic: they designed a pediatric clinic in Senegal in collaboration with Musoco and tutored by TAMassociati studio, an international reference for the field of humanitarian architecture field. During the workshop activity, YACademy’s students measured themselves on different levels, with some of the most important elements of humanitarian architecture. Firstly, a geographical, social, and poor context, with scarce resources and workers, but with a strong necessity for functional and quality architectures. Secondly, the opportunity to get in touch with the topic of architecture for children care: that is to create a place that gives comfort and help to the most helpless segments of society, which can find in these structures both medical care and a comforting and welcoming context that can become a positive reference and a beacon of hope for the local community. Lastly, the technological topic: the absence or the failure of the fundamental networks (data, water, light) define the need for autonomous structures that can fully guarantee their needs, completing the perfect picture of a significant design, both on the technical side and on the solidarity cooperation side.

Here follows a brief overview of the concept ideas developed during the 2022 edition of Architecture for Humanity.

Group 1 – Gabriela Slaba, Maria Rosaria Dandolo, Viviana Giada Cinelli

The project proposes an aggregation of volumes in a circular arrangement which are sheltered from the extreme climatic conditions and gently filtered from the exterior, providing the necessary functions for a pediatric clinic, while generating a great sense of community, thanks to the great balance between the brightness and the dimension of its symbolic courtyard and the small shaded areas in between the volumes, recreating the feeling of a dense forest with a sanctuary at is center.


Group 2 – Alice Vicini, Ashwin Ashok, Eljone Celaj, Janhavi Shinde

In this case, the team focused on the relationship between the new pediatric clinic and the proposed urban development of the Keur Bakar village. In particular, the project acts as part of the first phase of the abovementioned master plan which includes the creation of green belts around the site, the creation of new roads and services such as a market and a school. Also, a great attention is paid to the landscape infrastructure and the agricultural lands. The overall impression is of an oasis facing the desert which uses local construction techniques and modern technologies for the production of food, water and energy. The clinic acts as a part of this development, which successfully integrates with the surroundings, to which it gently opens.

Group 3 – Marco Bellomo, Ololade Owolabi, Radjeep J.V, Osnat Pavese

This work takes inspiration from a deep and critical analysis of the local craftsmanship patterns and the typological evolution of the Senegalese architecture, clusters in particular. These two aspects are at the base of the design, which interprets them in a creative yet rational way, optimizing materials and comfort while creating a design strategy which is both rigid and flexible, adaptable and playful. 

Group 4 – Alarico Ruffino, Khaoula Mrad, Karim Irani

In this case, the team heavily focused on social aspects to draw inspiration for the project. In particular, the group aimed to create a project capable of bringing a community together, despite being a clinic. The main reference of the design were games, as a proper universal and social language and a platform for healing and communication. In this sense, the project takes inspiration from a local game, the Mancala. Its forms, tools and movements (which players need to do to play, moving seeds from one hole to the other) become the grid, the buildings and the people flow.

A reinterpretation of a local game, its aesthetics and values.

Group 5 – Kenza Alaoui, Özden Kaleş Yavuz

The project locates itself in the village of Keur Bakar by re-interpreting its local vernacular architecture, construction elements and techniques, while researching a symbolic relationship with the surrounding elements of the village, such as the nearby trees and community building, creating a pediatric clinic which buildings gently lie under the same canopy, which acts as a unifying element. Also, the project is part of a wider landscape infrastructure, which aims to mitigate the local harsh climate, protecting the overall village from dry dusty winds.

Group 6 – Cintia Vieira, Elisa Montanari, Fabio Nicolò, Farida Heaba, Karla Madrigal

The project draws inspiration from an urban analysis of the village, with the aim of the creation of a clinic in relationship with its surroundings, yet able to provide private and calm spaces for the patients and their families. The achieved design presents an aggregation disposition capable of providing rational and functional spaces for the clinic buildings, but also playful community spaces, developing symbolically around pre-existing and new trees. The project develops around two which presents two courtyards with covered walkways which act both as a connective space and a permeable barrier, which opens on the gardens in between the buildings and the barrier enclosing the cluster.

Group 7 – Rhea Pharaon, Karen Nava, Thea Abad, Nadin Youssef, Mara Elide

Similarly to the precedent design, this work was influenced by an analysis of the urban fabric, in particular regarding how the enclosed configuration of small scale buildings of a cluster create, as a negative space, the private common areas of families. The group conducted a research on the various typologies of clusters and resulting uncovered spaces and applied a similar strategy for the creation of the clinic, which seamlessly integrates in the urban fabric while creating interesting covered spaces for the clinic and uncovered areas for gathering and play with a great attention in regards of the construction technologies and bioclimatic strategies.

Learn more about the projects developed by the Alumni of YACademy and the several professional opportunities this School offers to its students:  https://www.yacademy.it/


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