University of The Gambia, African education building design, Campus project news

University of The Gambia Africa : Faraba Banta Building

Higher Education Development in Africa design by Snøhetta Architects, Norway

7 Jul 2009

University of The Gambia – New Campus, Africa


Design: Snøhetta

University of The Gambia Africa : Faraba Banta Building
image from Snøhetta, Architects

University of The Gambia

The new University of The Gambia is to be relocated and established as a new institution consisting of the four existing formal institutions of higher education in The Gambia. At present there are three colleges and one university in The Gambia.

The Master plan project seeks to relocate and integrate the four institutions into one, to make a new, fully integrated University of The Gambia for 15.000 students. The project was initiated by the President of The Gambia.

University of The Gambia University of The Gambia University of The Gambia
pictures from Snøhetta Architects

The Master plan prepares the groundwork to be able to meet the flexible campus design which is based on a “modular” faculty building that has the flexibility to program and education. The campus “green river” bind the faculties together and ties back to the Faraba Banta and prepares for the new urban development.

The 4 existing higher educational Institutions will be fully integrated and the master plan design of the Campus express the integration as one campus. It is recommended to use the unique combination of the academic and practical education as a flexible education system that can define the higher education in The Gambia into a new mind set for higher education internationally.

The international standard of the Campus espouse the ambitions for the future students and staff of the new University of The Gambia. The European standard is used for calculating number of m2 pr student and costing of the campus. At the borders of the Campus area, there will be new urban development that will frame the campus and prepare for accommodation/student housing and city functions in an urban context. The older existing villages; Pirang and Faraba Banta, need to be protected from losing their identity through regulations and protection that will be taken care of in the new area plan for Faraba Banta.

The new campus will set a standard for environmental issues in The Gambia. By seeking environmental suitable solutions for The Gambia, the establishment of a solar park to make energy, a power plant to take responsibility for waste management and energy production, and to guarantee for clean water through harvesting and water management locally, the Campus area will set a new standard and the environmental profile will be important as educational investments in the students that will be the future leaders educated at the UTG.

To design a new campus on a site that has almost no infrastructure, has been a challenge. There are different directions for campus planning, but most are examples from western campuses. For Snøhetta it has been important to find a way to make a Gambian Campus and to bring elements from the Gambian traditions to a new expression.

Through analysis of the traditional Gambian settlements and landscapes, we have found an important inspiration to find the direction for this project. Through the analysis of these structures, Snøhetta has found three strong elements that have been important for developing the design for the campus Master Plan; the green structure, the African fractal as components for the faculty buildings and the out door meeting places set in an hierarchy through “Bantabas”, “compounds” and atriums.

University of The Gambia Campus – Building Information

Size: 90 hectares
Client: DOSHERST: Department of State for Higher Education, Research, Science, and Technology, The Gambia
Location: Faraba Banta, The Gambia

University of The Gambia Campus images / information from Snøhetta

Snøhetta, architects – University of The Gambia designers

Location: Faraba Banta, The Gambia, West Africa

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photo from Snøhetta Architects
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images courtesy of architects practice
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Comments / photos for the University of The GambiaAfrica Tertiary Education Architecture design by Snøhetta Architects, Oslo, page welcome