BE_Design Weaves Leadership Centre in Rwanda with Angular Elegance

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In Rwanda’s Eastern Province, a remarkable new building has sprung up, inspired by the beautiful patterns found in Rwandan Imigongo art. Created by the talented architects at BE_Design, the Komera Leadership Centre is not just a building; it’s a place that aims to empower and uplift the community.

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Working hand-in-hand with Rwanda Village Enterprises, BE_Design’s local office has brought this unique center to life. Its purpose is clear – it provides spaces for health, education, and mentorship programs, primarily for young women, while also serving as a space for community gatherings.

The building itself is a blend of modern design and Rwandan artistry. It features a collection of angular, woven structures that can be divided into classrooms or opened up into a large community area. The distinctive zig-zagging roofs, reminiscent of Imigongo art, are complemented by herringbone brick walls and woven eucalyptus screens on the outside.

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Inside, you’ll find wooden planks lining the ceilings, and high windows shaped like triangles between rooms. Bruce Engel, the founder of BE_Design, explained that they drew inspiration from local art forms and the country’s topography, often called the “Land of 1,000 Hills.”

On one side of the center, you’ll discover administrative spaces, health facilities, and counseling rooms. On the other side stands a separate kitchen and dining area, complete with eco-friendly composting toilets. Combining all these diverse elements presented a challenge due to budget constraints, but BE_Design cleverly solved it by creating adaptable spaces with large hinging panels and ample storage.

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What makes this project even more special is that the local community and graduates of Komera’s programs actively participated in the design and construction. Engel emphasized their commitment to using local workers, especially from Rwanda Village Enterprises, with a minimum requirement of 30 percent female workforce.

BE_Design, founded by Bruce Engel in 2016, now has a presence in both New York, USA, and Kigali, Rwanda. This project is a testament to their dedication to merging art, culture, and functionality in their architectural designs.

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The Komera Leadership Centre is not just a building; it’s a symbol of empowerment, community, and the beauty of Rwandan artistry.

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