Pavillon Urbain de Bonanjo (PUB)

PUB – Pavillon Urbain Bonanjo (2011/-    )
Project development of a pavilion, Douala CameroonPUB interior 2

A project by doual’art, ICU art projects, RAW foundation, and individual designers/artists/architects (Mauro Lugaresi, Lucas Grandin, Amandine Braud, Berend van der Lans, and others)

The Pavillon Urbain Bonanjo (PUB) is an extension of L’espace doual’art, centre d’art contemporaine in Douala Cameroon and of doual’art’s activities.
The pavilion is located in Bonanjo, in the city center, in the garden of L’espace doual’art. The pavilion was originally used as a court room in service of the Palais du Justice. When the court was modernized the building was abandoned. Lately, doual’art has used a part of the pavilion to store works of art by various artists.

PUB schets by RAW

The project development plan PUB intends to redevelop the pavilion through creative, sustainable design solutions into an international social and cultural space for arts, architecture and knowledge exchange.
By involving different professionals, schools and universities, international experienced artists and designers it is intended that the collaboration will gather a wide variety of unique ideas to the issues faced, transforming the pavilion into a blue-print, a sample display of hands-on solutions, examples easily to be applied elsewhere in the daily lives of people in Africa.

The main focus for its transformation is its sustainability in regards to the specific social, economical, cultural and environmental circumstances – (1) containing two guesthouses, a workshop space, a multi-space, storage space, an internet café, a library and a bar/restaurant, (2) finding natural solutions for climate control, for the high level of humidity and for the enormous amounts of rainwater, often merely a problem and not utilized, (3) using local materials in an inventive way, to be defined through super-use, re-use, or smart-use, using low-tech techniques, without maintenance or easy to be repaired, (4) finding inventive solutions for security aspects, considering the amount of staff required and creating symbiotic alliances with others in the near surroundings.

(1) – Architectural Program
– The 2 guesthouses provide lodgings for numerous visiting international guests and space for an artists in residence program, thus creating a circular economical system by reclaiming the cultural budgets that otherwise are spent on hotels elsewhere to accommodate the visitors. This circular system of re-claiming accommodation budgets could make doual’art more independent and less depending on external funding for its activities and thus sustain itself in the future.
– The workshop and material storage would allow doual’art and (visiting) artists to produce artworks and other products locally, reducing budgets spent on production elsewhere, and involving possible internships and work experience, skills and education related to the production of art for young artists and students, collaborating with school and universities, and providing technical facilities for local artists to produce their artworks in a professional context.
– The multi-space could function as an extra exhibition-, conference- and project space to facilitate the activities of doual’art or that of the artists in residence program. The multi-space could also be rented out to other organizations and generate financial means for doual’art and its activities. An increasing amount of people visiting and using the PUB can also indirectly support the current activities of doual’art as it can provide more visibility to its program. During the festival of the SUD Salon Urbain de Douala, the triennial for public art, the multi-space could provide the necessary extra space needed to host its visitors and program of activities.
– The library can open the extensive collections of art books from doual’art to the public, attracting researchers and artists and can be of use for educational purposes. Until now, this collection has not been very accessible as it is stored in the office of doual’art as no other space is available. The library could also hosts the WikiAfrica Cameroon project currently located in a side space of L’espace de doual’art. The WikiAfrica project invites Wikimedian in residence for three months to produce articles on Cameroon and encourage contributions by Cameroonian contributors. The WikiAfrica project is supported by Orange and has already donated doual’art a speedy internet connection, 6 computers and a climate control system.
– The Internet café integrated in the library can offer guests and other visitors access to the internet as it now holds a fast connection provided by Orange.
– The new storage space will continue to offer space to the collection of artworks of doual’art but in such a way that they will be visible and presented actively for visitors and others interested.
– The bar/restaurant will generate direct income through visiting guests. Being located on the corner of the building in between L’espace doual’art and the garden to the pavilion, it can actively open this large garden to the public. The existing terrace of L’espace doual’art, one of the few public spaces in the city center and supported by a small bar located in L’espace de doual’art, can’t always provide the necessary capacity needed during larger events and the SUD. Having a second bar/restaurant and 2 toilets that can be run independently from L’espace doual’art could provide the necessary flexibility needed and could support the usage if the multi-space.
– The PUB has a large public garden to the street. Until now this garden is without usage. It is intended that the architectural program of the PUB is related to the usage of the garden; as a terrace for the bar/restaurant, as a outdoor production space, as a extra facility to the multi-space and the guest houses.

(2) – Environmental Conditions
– The roof of the pavilion annually collects about 10.000 liters of rainwater that is not directed nor used.
The PUB intends to use this water for a variety of purposes. The water can be used for the guesthouses to provide water to shower, for the toilets and for cleaning.
– Storing the rainwater would need at least 10 containers 1x1x1 meter holding 1.000 liters, to be placed at the lowest part of the roof, that is the passage behind the pavilion. Using transparent plastic containers to store the water, the passage behind the pavilion could partly be covered, thus increasing the security of the guesthouses, but still allowing sunlight to pass through. Storing the water instead of it just dropping on the soil prevents the wood construction of the building from further rotting and disintegration.
– The stored rainwater can also be used for cooling by running it through the building using tubes, or metal pipes. The tubes and pipes used for cooling can also increase security to the building.
– Parts of the roof can be lifted to increase the flow of air through the building, creating a nature cooling system, using the wind.

(3) – Material Usage: super-use, re-use, or smart-use
– The preserve the PUB for the future it is required to use only low-tech and local techniques, thus allowing easy repairs and maintenance.
– As Africa hardly holds any waste materials, everything becomes of value on the instant someone needs it: solutions for the usage of materials should be found in smart-use or super-use.
– Materials and goods are often stored in some kind of container, boxes, crates, etc. on the location where it is sold. This storage is often permanent in terms of quantity and not used as a quality.

(4) – Security & External Relations
– The intensive usage of the pavilion requires inventive solutions for security aspects, including the amount of staff required and the possibilities of creating symbiotic alliances with others in the near surroundings.
– Locating the bar/restaurant at the corner of the pavilion, the staff can overlook both gardens and entrances, thus reducing the amount of staff required.
– The excess rainwater that is stored can be used for creating a special relation with the car cleaners working at the nearby public square.
The car cleaners currently use the water from the fountain at the war monument in the centre of the square. As this fountain does not always provide enough water their spontaneous enterprise often comes to a stop. Offering them a special water reservoir near the street guarantees their economy. In return the car cleaners can provide social monitoring and security to the area.
– The security of the guesthouses is of great concern. As the city center of Bonanjo hardly holds any private housing it is often abandoned at nighttime, thus lacking a natural social security. The entrance to the guesthouses requires a high level of security that can be created by introducing several doors or gates, adding multiple levels of security.

Process of development
The idea for the development of the PUB is that it will be done by different people, each responsible for different aspects of the project, both esthetically and technically. In this way each participant can be artistically precise and engage himself/herself to a particular part of the whole. The PUB will resemble and reflect the city as a collection of different volumes with different characters and ‘owners’.
The actual project development of the PUB relates to this idea as it can only be developed in steps as the production budget for its development is small and the availability of the participants various.

01 – secure, repair and improve the general structure of the building: roof construction and diving walls
02 – relocating the existing storage to make space for the bar/restaurant
03 – installing general infrastructure: water system, plumbing system and electricity
04 – creating the bar/restaurant to provide for the context of the SUD 2013 so it can generate finances for developing the PUB
05 – development of the guesthouses for future guests, generating finances for developing the PUB
06 – development of the library/internet café (re-installing air-conditioning system/computers/internet connection)
07 – development of the multi-space
08 – development of the workshop
09 – development of the public terrace
10 – development of the garden

More information:


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