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UK teams among finalists in RIBA contest for Rwanda eco-city

Gck kinyinya hill rwanda image1
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The RIBA has named the five teams shortlisted in an international design competition for a 600ha residential masterplan in Kigali, Rwanda

The finalists are UK firms Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Ove Arup & Partners and Allies and Morrison, as well as Beirut-based Dar Al-Handasah Consultants, and Surbana Jurong Consultants of Singapore.

The Green City Kigali competition asked entrants to draw up concept plans for an extension to the Rwandan capital in the Kinyinya Hill suburb and a more detailed masterplan for an 18ha pilot phase which already has funding secured.

The flagship project is supported by Rwanda’s Green Fund and the German Development Cooperation. It aims to deliver a new ‘compact, mixed-use development with a pedestrian focus’ which tackles Kigali’s growing crisis of housing affordability, housing supply and urban sprawl.

The five shortlisted teams will now each receive €50,000 to further develop their masterplans before presenting them to the judging panel in Kigali.

Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda, one of the smallest countries in Africa. The rapidly growing 730km2 city is home to around 1.1 million people and is facing a growing crisis in the availability of good-quality affordable housing.

The cityscape is defined by large areas of urban sprawl across the hills and ridges surrounding its central governmental and business districts. The Green City Kigali project aims to create a flagship development which could inspire similar urban extensions across the urbanising continent – expected to witness a doubling of population by 2050. Stockholm-based multidisciplinary Sweco has already been commissioned for a feasibility study.

The new development is planned to have around 30,000 homes and provide around 16,000 jobs. Proposals for the site will be expected to ‘maximise the use of passive design strategies and create a pathway to a net-zero future’.

Judges will include Martin Rein-Can, founder of Topotek1; Peter Oborn of Peter Oborn Associates acting as RIBA adviser; and Paul Finch, AJ editorial director and programme director of the World Architecture Festival.

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