The project was designed as part of the international competition of the Jacques Rougerie Foundation 2018 edition and won the “African coastline” prize. The main goal of the competition was to use architectural innovation and sustainable development to respond to major climate changes.
Project Name: SEME-BIOSE
Designer: Franklin YEMELI, Mesmer NDIENANG DAPABKO
Location: Rufisque and Bargny (Senegal)
As a continent that will account for nearly a quarter of the world’s population in 2050 and because of its level of development, Africa is today one of the regions most affected by the population explosion and climate change. However, the continent is also the least equipped to deal with these problems. These affect local communities that derive their income mainly from the sea. In these areas, the contrast between land and sea is also accompanied by the contrast between great opportunities and vulnerability. Some notable references on the continent are, 46% of its population living in extreme poverty and a fraction of 38 coastal states out of 54. In addition, the sea swallows in some areas more than 10 meters of beach per year.
This pilot project is designed to address the problem of coastal erosion, the main consequence of climate change on the coastline. It focuses on the particular case of Senegal, one of the most affected countries in Africa, but will be adaptable to other regions of the continent and the world facing the same problem and with similar characteristics.
The project thus proposes an alternative to the solutions deployed on the one hand by fishermen and managers of the hotel and cultural establishments (often rudimentary) and on the other hand by the State (often expensive) by substituting them with a “land-sea” approach. More concretely, it is a question of being part of a protection framework that integrates the development of the coastline through a set of strategies both on land (dunes, etc.) and in the sea (reefs, etc.) that combined will reduce wave action, prevent erosion, globally rebuild the coastline and promote the development of activities related to the sea.
In the short term, the SEME-BIOSE project aims at increasing the economic, social and ecological resilience of the populations of the Senegalese coastline. The economic situation and the limited resources allocated to this type of project require the development of solutions that are as realistic as they are audacious. These solutions will have to respond to the problems without, however, creating segregation between the beach and the sea.
The various interventions are organized on five levels: The demolition of ruins and dangerous buildings located at a non-conforming distance from the seafront allows the beach to be freed and the pressure on it to be reduced. Urban estates with ecological architecture and made up of evolutive housing allow for the relocation of displaced people further away from the shoreline. Installation of windbreaks allows the natural restoration and stabilization of the dune barrier on the back beach. The creation of artificial reefs and the restoration of the mangrove swamp promote the development of biodiversity, the attenuation of waves and optimize sedimentary deposition in the deltas. The creation of artificial islands helps to control swells and prevent sand from being carried offshore while developing economic and social activities. An offshore extension through a floating architecture aims at optimizing and democratizing the activities related to the blue economy. In addition, the foundations of the footbridges leading to the islands are designed to stabilize the beach and the deltas, optimize sedimentary deposition and create spaces for walks without disturbing the littoral drift, which in itself constitutes a balance. Walking on them is an extraordinary experience through the spectacular views they offer over the landscape. Thus, while the sea level rises, we emerge. Life with the sea ceases to be a struggle and becomes a symbiosis.
Resolutely committed to a more resilient and sustainable future for vulnerable coastal communities, this project is also a call to people’s awareness and responsibility. To this end, the designers have given a very important place to the needs of the latter in the project’s design and plan to involve them in its implementation.
SEME-BIOSE has also received several awards in international competitions such as Global future design Awards 2019, Creative conscience Awards 2019, Rethinking the future 2019, International architecture Awards 2019, Architecture MasterPrize 2019, International design Awards 2019 and World architecture Community 33rd cycle (2020).