- Project Name
- Norrsken Kigali House
- Norrsken Foundation
- Project Scope
- 5,090 sq. meters
- Year Completed
- Shared by
- Will Powers
David Saladik, Senior Principal
Kelly Alvarez Doran, OAA, MRAIC, Senior Director, Sustainability and Regenerative Design
Anton Larsen, Int Assoc. AIA, RwGBO, Principal
Other: Sweco,Other: AFRY,Consulting Engineer: ARUP,Construction contractor: Landmark Studio
- Certifications & Designations
- Project Status
FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
East Africa boasts three of the world’s top ten fastest-growing economies, but faces major challenges in attracting foreign direct investment to accelerate the growth of small and growing businesses. In partnership with MASS, Norrsken seeks to address this by launching Norrsken Kigali House, an entrepreneurship hub in Kigali, Rwanda.
The new Kigali hub is housed on the historic École Belge site in central Kigali. The École Belge de Kigali, established in 1965, is one of the oldest international school facilities in Rwanda. With the historic classrooms and former school playgrounds at risk of being demolished for high-rise commercial use, MASS aimed to preserve the historic structure of the École Belge and illustrate how adaptive reuse could work within the neighborhood to create moments of green and public spaces.
While repurposing existing classroom blocks, the site also presented an opportunity to build a new frontage that is open, transparent, and engaging. The completed campus is comprised of four buildings and an outdoor pergola structure: three renovated École Belge classroom blocks and one newly constructed building, the main Norrsken House.
Across the site, new spaces for different scales and types of work, from large collaborative areas to quiet individual workspaces, in addition to landscaped and semi-public outdoor spaces were designed. Furniture and fittings tailored for each space were created by MASS’s furniture design studio. The landscape design, also led by MASS, fosters collaboration and networking opportunities beyond the building. Instead of demolition, MASS prioritized deconstruction and reuse of materials for site benches, feature walls, and pathways. The steel of the existing gym was entirely salvaged, and then reused to build the outdoor pergola event space.
The Norrsken Kigali House is a model of green building development and will be EDGE Advanced certified, meaning its buildings will have 40 percent or more on-site energy savings. For temperature control and ventilation, the design optimizes clay-shaded facades and natural ventilation, and incorporates a thermal labyrinth, a pioneering sustainable cooling system, to reduce energy demands. In addition, a solar photovoltaic system covering the facility’s roof helps to maximize energy independence. To conserve energy and water, all stormwater is managed on site or harvested for non-potable water services, including flushing toilets. Combining these conservation measures, the campus design achieves a 32 percent embodied carbon reduction compared to the global average for similar office buildings.
The site offers a curated ecosystem that elevates the status and visibility of entrepreneurs while offering the tools and networks to help startups grow efficiently and become investment-ready. The design of the Norrsken Kigali House incorporates spaces for different scales and types of work, from large collaborative spaces to quiet individual workspaces, in addition to landscaped and semi-public outdoor spaces. The aim of Norrsken Kigali House is to fuel growth in East Africa, accelerating their rapid development of entrepreneurship by increasing access to international capital, ultimately shifting the paradigm from aid to investment.