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Women's Opportunity Center by Sharon Davis Design

On a two-hectare site in Rwanda, the most densely populated country in Africa, the Women’s Opportunity Center is empowering one small community and, in turn, rewriting our role as designers.

The design builds support for Rwanda’s social infrastructure through guest lodging facilities that allow donors and partner organizations to experience the Opportunity Center first-hand.These lodges serve as a conduit for initiatives that build one-to-one relationships between women in Kayonza and sponsors around the world, expanding the center’s social footprint through a sustaining global network.

Here, women sell food, textiles, baskets, and other products produced on site, as well as potable water harvested from the center’s rooftops. Market spaces can be rented to generate additional income, building a self-sufficient community network in Kayonza.

Bricks were made on site by the center’s future users; in crafting the 450,000 clay bricks needed for construction – using materials found on site and a new, more durable manual press method were adapted from local building techniques.

The Women’s Opportunity Center empowers 300 women annually to transcend a legacy of conflict. As designers, it has empowered us to create an ethic of global collaboration—one that’s rapidly reshaping our practice. In the lives and stories of these women, we have found the locally inspired grounds for a globally resonant architecture of optimism.

We hope this article has been both informative and entertaining!


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