The Rwanda Cricket Stadium by Light Earth Designs is formed of three linked parabolic vaults, closely mimicking the path of a bouncing ball while evoking the cherished hilly topography of Rwanda. The project empowers the development of Rwandan economy using local labour-intensive construction materials and techniques.
The building evolves from the cut soil banking with the vaults, adapted from the ancient Mediterranean technique of thin-tile vaulting for new environments, using compressed soil-cement tiles made from site-excavated earth. Local builders, unskilled as well as skilled- learned to implement this technique in East Africa for the first time. Through research developed by Michael Ramage at the University of Cambridge Centre for Natural Material Innovation, geogrid reinforcement is added to the vaults for seismic protection to deal with Kigali's moderate risk earthquake zone. The vaults work in compression, allowing the structure to be extremely thin ‚Äì 250mm at its maximum, with the largest vault spanning over 16m. The shells are waterproofed and then topped with local broken granite to add weight and stability while blending into the natural palate.
Simple, efficient concrete tables are added for the more enclosed spaces, the service areas, changing rooms, an office and a restaurant. Low-carbon, agro-waste fired, locally-made bricks are used to define edges and spaces. Local broken granite and slate, as well as clay tiles are used for flooring. Plywood rectangles used to press the tiles are reused as countertops, while timber and plywood from the vault guidework is made into joinery and doors ensuring that a maximum of potential waste material goes into primary production.
Whilst the language of the building speaks of progression and dynamism through extreme structural¬†efficiency, the materials speak of the natural, the hand made and the human. It is a building made by Rwandans using Rwandan materials.