Center for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance Praia, Cape Verde

Praia, Cape Verde
5.200 m²
External Collaborator
NLA nuno leonidas arquitectos

1st prize in competition


When we first started to think about this project, one idea was strongly imposed instantly: the place. The character. The context. Regional. Local. Cape Verde has a distinctive setting, with its own particular culture, climate, natural conditions, etc. How do we think of and design a building while carefully integrating these local features, without harming them at the same time?

Cape Verde has a very particular local climate. Its specific conditions, such as 350 days of sun per year, very few days of rain and a constant North-East wind, challenged us to integrate these into the design process and to make the mother nature driving force. Both the building’s specific form and organization come from the local conditions and context:  

- the classrooms are organized around the central open-air interior court, AGORA. This space is sheltered and sun protected with the pergola, but still allows natural airflow

- since the biggest part of the construction material is imported to Cape Verde, we chose to use a traditional massive wall as much as possible, in order to stay local and use local materials

- because of constant N-E wind, the positioning and orientation of the building became crucial. This is where particular roof design comes from: our aim to use the wind force and integrate natural ventilation.

The roof shape allows the air to come in, circulate inside the building and partially go out through the black chimneys, while creating the negative pressure on the exit. The other part of this air goes through the openings on the top of the AGORA, and flows across to supply the classrooms on the opposite side while naturally cooling them and creating another negative pressure airflow on the exit. In such a way, interior spaces get naturally ventilated and cooled, so does the roof structure as well.

Natural conditions led us to design a building while using natural sources in harmless way to create optimal working and studying conditions, without too much cost.