The Centre de l’Architecture en Terre (Centre for Clay Architecture) is one of a series of buildings commissioned by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Mopti, Mali.
It is a shining example of architect Diébédo Francis Kéré’s approach, in which local building materials, knowledge and technologies come together in socially and ecologically sustainable architecture projects. The centre presents traditional clay construction techniques in order to preserve and convey them – using the building itself. A neighbouring mosque was also renovated and equipped with a new sewage system, while the shore of the lake bordering the centre was backfilled and made publicly accessible. In that way, the centre blends with the surrounding cityscape, and its functionality fulfils the needs of both visitors and the local population. The Centre de l’Architecture en Terre houses three buildings under two roofs; its walls and barrel-vault, made of pressed and stabilized clay, are neither rendered nor painted, forming a natural barrier against high outer temperatures. The overhanging roof construction, too, has been adapted to regional weather conditions; it cools the walls and shades the outside area. The building’s open construction method allows for natural air circulation, avoiding the use of energy-intensive air conditioners and ventilators.