top of page

El Sahel

Tanaf, Senegal


Made to be a lightweight floating-like structure, it outstands in the landscape by its particular shape and lightness, the temple simple lines were inspired by the contrast between mundane and divine and its shape is a negative extracted from the roofs of surrounding buildings and the sky. The central gap creates a roofless area susceptible to weather conditions and peacefully offers a covered zone around it, a shelter for body and mind. This building has no main entrance and is accessible from any part of the site, but the largest façade is oriented to Mecca, by this way when walking through the main street the passersby will face the yellowish mesh placed in the inner part of the building reflecting the morning sun. With no physical divisions, inside and outside merge in this worship place thanks to a design that values natural ventilation while providing refuge from the sun; its particular structure will also work as a community meeting point, a new icon, and an emergency shelter.

The easy assembling does not require specialized workers and is designed to be built in the ground and raised as a tent in 4 basic steps. The main structure built in baobab wood will be locked in place by polyester cables; this structure will also be used as the emergency wing roofing membrane supports, enabling by this way the expansion of the covered area in 70% when needed. The inner part of the coverage will feature a fog harvesting mesh facing the central gap, this net will be responsible not only for the inside esthetical finishing of the structure but also for collecting droplets of water from the air during the day. A cistern will store the water collected from the rain and from the fog harvesting process, offering by this way a new source of drinkable water to the community. Fiber panels, which can be made and maintained by the villagers themselves will cover the exterior of the structure, in a way that encourages locals to take part in the building, modifying and maintaining processes.


Area: 150m²
Status: Idea

Location: Tanaf, Senegal

Team: Andre Zanolla, Rennan Carlos, Andrea Fortunato (external)
Client: Balouo Salo NGO

© 2023 by Democratic Architects

  • Grey Instagram Ícone
  • Ícone cinza LinkedIn
  • Cinza ícone do YouTube
bottom of page