Kinsuka Garden of Knowledge
ORG is designing a neighborhood to develop Texaf’s former textile factory site, at the edge of Kinshasa, Congo (DRC). This project aims to design a neighborhood with adaptive housing units that will understand and service Kinshasa’s middle-class living standards. Kinsuka Garden of Knowledge is an entirely new neighborhood development of 104 hectares, about 10 kilometers to the west of the center of Kinshasa (DRC). This plot, located in the district of Kinsuka, is flanked on two sides by the River Congo. The rapid expansion of both nearby Kinshasa, and of the middle class have created an opportunity to make neighborhoods with modern amenities and a practical, appealing new standard of living. The neighborhood will include many amenities, such as sports and park areas, to optimize the social mixing and leisure time of the residents. To develop domestic dwellings, it’s necessary to understand the preferred living habits of future residents. To accomplish this, we’ve run a first reflection chamber to understand the qualities and nuances of domestic culture. What do people want? How do people live? And which typologies can best answer this?
From the research we understood a few fundamental rules that needed to be integrated into our design:
- Strong focus on the parcel, people want their plot of land with the house situated in the center
- The importance of intimacy
- A large outdoor kitchen
- The household staff is common practice
- Rooms must be multifunctional
- Religion is important
Also, the proposed architecture has a strong ecological strategy adapted to its climate. The design considers the orientation of the houses and ensures maximum protection from the sun and the risk of overheating with the help of an architectonic second skin. Stack and cross ventilation are encouraged to keep natural coolness in every room without necessarily relying on AC units. To meet the standards set for this new neighborhood, ORG prepared an urban vision plan for the development of the site, including its phasing and its feasibility both technically, spatially, and financially. The project will consist of housing for the emerging middle class with the associated infrastructure and communal facilities. ORG is also proposing to join forces with local and international schools and businesses to start a knowledge center on the site. This cluster would include training in business economics, agriculture, skills, information, and learning; the idea is to equip people with skills, after which they can develop their own business.
Agnieszka Winiarska, Aleksander Čebotariov, Isabelle Maton, Aaron Weller