Toshiko Mori Architects designed on a pro bono basis an artists' residence with a cultural centre called Thread in a rural village in Senegal for the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
In the project, architect Toshiko Mori relied on local workers specialising in traditional construction techniques such as straw roofing and local materials such as bamboo and brick to create innovative architectural solutions. The roof, for example, was designed with parametric transformation and its shape was inverted to collect rainwater for irrigation in a region where the “dry season” lasts 8 months every year.
The residency is open to artists from all over the world, and the cultural centre is used for a variety of purposes including children's education, performances and meetings, a water centre, and a library, and has become a meeting-place for the local people and resident artists from all over the country and abroad. A place where art and architecture become part of local life, a point emphasised by the judges of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, who shortlisted the project for the 2016 award.