The project is structured on two different notions: one embodies the sky while the other epitomize the earth. The sky is represented by the roof since it projects a beam of light on the floor, creating a starry-sky shape. The light effect, altogether with the circle shape, creates a sensorial experience which contribute to beautiful and peaceful feels. The second notion is embodied by the floor—and it answers to a human basic need. These two things come together and are embodied by the “Bica”, and the meanings attached to these notions become inseparable, just like our body and spirit.
In areas affected by the shortage of water, it is common to people from small villages to walk long distances trying to reach neighboring villages whose wells had not dried up yet. Thus, we suggest building a deep well, so people in need would always have access to water, because living constantly in shortage of water imposes a hard reality on people. The only solution to this problem is to fight it, making use of a variety of techniques and actions to reduce the water issues. Perhaps the priority is to provide water to those who are thirsty. Therefore we suggest building a BICA. Bica is an old Portuguese word used to name the public place from where one could get water. From a place where water plays an important role it would be sent a clear message to all region—this a place one can go to get water when needing it, not to mention it would emphasize how important it is to perceive water as a key asset to survival whilst it would encourage people to consider ways to preserve it. The project ideas veer towards the importance of water, creating a symbolic alliance between pragmatic and spiritual matters.
The project seizes the well-known recognizable symbols and try to express them through sensorial stimuli to help people to connect with the spiritual world. The circle has always represented perfection, equilibrium and connection. Every religion, in its own terms, sees it as something divine. In Architecture, the circle brings people together and creates a friendly, conducive space to get-togethers of various kinds. With the objective to deal with these questions, we chose to use a geodesic structure, since it is a self-supporting structure which makes it possible to create big empty spaces without being necessary to recur to complex techniques—and it’s possible to be built by locals, let alone the fact it allows more flexibility when choosing the building materials. Bound to the structure, there’s a wood mesh, which can be built by local artisans. The mesh and the structure sustain a lightweight roof which can be easily mounted. It also makes it possible to control the amount of light entering the room, accordingly to the sun position.
Project title: BICA
Subtitle: Kaira Looro International Architecture Competition
Location: Tanaf, Senegal
Authors: Marco Kramer
Collaboration: Fabiano Friedrich