Cricket is not a sport that is easily understood by people outside the Common Wealth but it is played outdoors and quite social. Hence, the perfect setting for a crowdfunding project on the outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda. Initiated by the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF), the non-profit venture got off the ground with the help and design of Light Earth Design LLP, a multidisciplinary architectural consultancy. That said: cricket is one of the fasted growing sports in Rwanda. The cricket stadium building sits on the 4.5 hectares ground with panoramic views and is a sustainable design built by locals and with local materials. It is part of the five-year plan to transform the East African country from an agriculture-based economy to manufacturing and production.
The Light Earth Design team engaged local laborers from the poorest areas of the city to build the stadium and giving them an opportunity in the workforce and to learn about construction and new techniques. The design team is a pioneer in the field of Catalan timbrel (building vaults) and recycled tiles that were applied to the structure. The Rwanda Cricket Stadium speaks of progression, dynamism, and structural efficiency. The clubhouse design reminds of the parabolic geometry of bouncing balls. The largest vault with 16-meter height houses the restaurant and bar with an impressive view over the playing field and the surrounding landscape. To fit the stadium seamlessly into this green, natural environment, the vaults are shingled with Mediterranean compressed soil-cement tiles. These tiles were produced on site with local soil and without firing. They are laid in a pixelated way so that they mimic the foliage and are enforced with broken, local granite pieces which makes the roof waterproof. In addition, the material adds weight to the structure and gives it stability. The architects also used low carbon agro-waste-fired bricks provided by the Swiss NGO SKAT Consulting that were produced locally. The materials give the building the image of imperfection and add a layer to the natural feel. Light Earth Design LLP has offices in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Rwanda where they practice green urban design combining academic and sustainable practices drawn from their deep knowledge of architecture, engineering, and design. The result – as in the Rwanda Cricket Stadium that is for the people in Kigali – is a structure of quality, durability, and social comfort.
More about African design inspirations – check out the largest bird nest in Kenya.