Thread is a
socio-cultural centre that houses two artists’ dwellings and studio space for
local and international artists. Nicolas Weber, of the Josef and Anni Albers
Foundation, had been supporting the efforts of a Senegalese doctor, Magueye Ba,
in running a medical centre and elementary school programme serving an isolated
network of rural villages in the Tambacounda region. When Ba and Weber wanted
to add elements of cultural exchange and support for the arts to the work in
Tambacounda, the project of creating an artist residency and cultural centre
formally began under the pro-bono stewardship of Toshiko Mori, who had
previously held workshops in the area. It is a hub for Sinthian and surrounding
villages, providing agricultural training on the area’s fertile land and a
meeting place for social organisation which is, in rural Senegal, the crucial
mechanism for sustainable development. A parametric transformation of the traditional
pitched roof achieved through a process of inversion collects rainwater,
creating a viable source for new agricultural projects during the eight-month
dry season. Thread exists at a crossroads between (inter)national artist
residency, agricultural hub, community farm, water source, exhibition and
performance venue, cultural centre, local library, children’s play gym and
village cell phone charger. The success of its atypical plurality proves why
art and architecture should be the right of all people.
Thread Artist Residency & Cultural Centre On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2016.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.