The Startup Lions Campus designed by Kéré Architecture is the first ICT campus in the Rift Valley, located on the banks of the biggest desert lake in the world: Lake Turkana...
From the architect: The Startup Lions Campus is an information and communication technologies (ICT) campus, located on the banks of Lake Turkana, Kenya. The project responds to the pressing challenge of youth unemployment faced in the region by offering high-level training and access to international job opportunities, allowing young entrepreneurs to thrive professionally without having to leave their place of origin. The campus will provide 100 new workstations and is the first step in an ambitious vision of spreading ICT networks in remote areas.
The project celebrates the unique morphology and natural beauty of its site. It is built over two levels that follow the natural slope and features extensive roof terraces that offer sweeping views over Lake Turkana. The roof terraces are shaded by creeping vegetation, providing pleasant outdoor meeting spaces and opportunities for the informal exchange of ideas.
The building takes inspiration from the towering mounds built by termite colonies in the region. Tall ventilation towers create a stack effect to naturally cool the main working spaces by extracting warm air upwards, while fresh air is introduced through specially designed low-level openings. This system allows the campus to withstand high temperatures and is especially well suited as it prevents dust from damaging the IT equipment. In addition to their functional role, the towers create a landmark in the surroundings.
The campus is built out of locally sourced quarry stone with a plaster finish. In choosing which materials and construction techniques to use, ecological sustainability, cost and availability factors were weighed to arrive at the best compromise. Collaboration with the local community was key in this decision-making process, drawing from their experience and expertise.
Brizan Were, co-founder of Learning Lions: “Looking at these magnificent buildings I am excited that I was able to be part of this project. I have known termites as hardworking and destructive at the same time, but I never thought that they could potentially inspire a world renowned architect to get us this great piece of architecture. The Startup Lions Campus is a landmark building that will provide a home to learn, earn and innovate for generations to come!”
Francis Kéré: “From the very beginning the project has had collaborative building and learning at its heart. We had imagined an educational facility that blended with the striking natural landscape that surrounds it, mirroring the ingenious structures built by the terminates close by. It is a special honour for me and my team to have been able to provide the shape for this incredible educational facility and I am looking forward to how it may expand and most importantly see its students succeed.”
Architect: Kéré Architecture
Project Name: Startup Lions Campus
Location: Turkana County, Kenya
Area: 1,416 sqm
Design Team: Kinan Deeb, Andrea Maretto
Contributors: Juan Carlos Zapata, Leonne Vögelin, Charles André, Malak Nasreldin
Project Management: Kinan Deeb
Construction: BuildX Studio
Photography: © Kéré Architecture
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