Mali’s National Park, located inside the capital city of Bamako, is now home to a modern complex that reaches deep into the nation’s architectural past. Designed by celebrated architect Francis Kéré, the complex is the gateway into a substantial green belt for the city’s 1 million inhabitants. Built on a tight budget, the new complex utilized local materials and labor to create a modern, passively cooled sports complex and restaurant.
The design is driven by its materials — locally quarried stone was used for the exterior, complimenting the rocky site that the restaurant hovers over. The masonry work was done by local workers who were was specially trained to use the abundant and traditional local resource. The stone facade’s aesthetic reference is laudable — but so is its capacity to regulate internal temperatures in the tropical climate.
The complex’s cool character is further maintained by the distinctive corrugated metal roof floating above the buildings. A signature design element of Francis Kéré, the shading device is a proven low-cost and architecturally interesting feature that is made from simple materials such as corrugated steel and steel tubing trusses (which is also locally fabricated). The roof cantilevers deeply into the sports courtyard, providing a shaded recreation area and encouraging natural ventilation.
The restaurant is perched above a rock in the park overlooking a new water feature, which is part of a larger water treatment system for the park.