Young Ivorian architect learns from LafargeHolcim Awards winner in Niger

Internship for winners of sustainable construction competition of LafargeHolcim Côte d’Ivoire

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    Armel Bi Mikalo (right) completed his half-year internship with Global LafargeHolcim Awards winner Mariam Kamara, founder and principal of Atelier Masomi in Niamey, Niger.

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Legacy Restored

    The project will be a culture and education hub where the secular and the religious peacefully co-exist to cultivate minds and strengthen the community.

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Legacy Restored

    The use of earthen materials as the main source or thermal mass, as well as the banishment of any glazed surfaces help stabilize the interior temperature. Doors and windows are strategically placed to provide natural ventilation, removing the need for mechanical cooling most of the year.

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    Global finalist entry 2018 – Legacy Restored

    The use of Compressed Earth Bricks made out of local red Laterite soil has already attracted the attention of the villagers and their neighbors who routinely come and watch the building process, marveling over this “new red brick”, as they call it, providing us an opportunity to educate them further on the material.

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    Internship offers valuable on-site experience: The Global LafargeHolcim prize winning project is a religious and secular complex in Niger that reinterprets traditional local construction for a new mosque and a community center.

LafargeHolcim Côte d’Ivoire (LHCI) supports young local architects to expand their practical understanding of sustainable construction through a competition run in collaboration with the National Council of Architects in Côte d’Ivoire. The winners receive a six-month internship to work on sustainable construction projects with an experienced architect.

Last updated: December 19, 2018 Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

For LHCI, the initiative builds reputation with all its stakeholders for “walking the talk” on promoting sustainable development. It also sparks interest in the next International Holcim Awards competition for projects and visions in sustainable construction, opening for entries in mid-2019.

“We want to provide promising Ivorian architects with outstanding experiences that further their knowledge and motivate them to excel in the Holcim Awards competition”, said Xavier Saint Martin Tillet, CEO of LHCI.

The winners of the first edition of the Ivorian competition in early 2018 were Toaply Jean-Patrick Kore from l’Ecole d’Architecture d’Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire and Armel Bi Mikalo from l’Ecole Africaine des Métiers de l’Architecture et de l’Urbanisme in Togo. The young professionals were enabled to enrich their understanding of how to embed sustainable design into their work by learning from leading architects in the region.

A18GLfiNE-NewMosqueLookingAtLibrary.jpgUnderstanding the dimensions of sustainable construction

Whereas Toaply Jean-Patrick Kore chose to complete his internship with Koffi & Diabaté architects in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), Armel Bi Mikalo decided to complete his half-year internship with Mariam Kamara, founder and principal of Atelier Masomi in Niamey (Niger).

Together with Yasaman Esmaili, Mariam Kamara won the Global Holcim Award Silver 2018 for a religious and secular complex project that was completed in Niger this year (pictured, left). It focuses on the development and wellbeing of the local workforce and communities by preserving traditional construction techniques and materials, and supporting the local economy.

Armel Bi Mikalo extended his understanding of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable construction – and learnt how a program and its implementation can encourage local populations to build, operate, maintain and even enrich cultural links. The opportunity for him to connect the Ivorian competition to a winner of the world’s leading competition for sustainable design benefitted his internship experience. “I know what it takes to be a world class architect,” he stated. “I would like to thank Holcim for the opportunities it gives to students and architects in its efforts to promote sustainable construction”.

Rewarding sustainability in construction in Côte d’Ivoire and beyond

Encouraging the next generation of architects to enhance the sustainability of their work, is also the goal of the second edition of the ongoing LHCI competition; the winners will be announced in January 2019.

The International Holcim Awards open for entries in the main and the next generation category on June 3, 2019 at