Gabon, a coastal African country located on the equator and 80% covered in rain forests, is highly informed by water. However, the country suffers from a general disregard of water as an important recourse. With no real country-wide sewer system, 67% of Gabonese lack modern sanitation facilities and 12% lack access to clean drinking water. Gabon needs a new direction for how it manages water infrastructure. This system should not merely be a continuation of the standard western model of isolated infrastructure; it has the opportunity to become visibly integrated into people’s daily urban and ecological lives.
As part of an advanced studio at Yale School of Architecture taught by Dan Wood of Work AC RAW proposed an intervention meant to illuminate these pressing water and sanitation problems within Gabon. The proposed site for the first of these interventions in the capital city of Libreville would be located at the bottom of a large water shed area in a location that allows for easy access to the economic and governmental buildings along the Boulevard Triumphal, the surrounding housing neighborhoods, and the country’s main university.
This plant can then become an asset for the adjacent neighborhood in other ways, combining the utilitarian functions of water purification with social programs that can feed off the byproducts of the plant’s processes like laundromats, pools, restrooms, car washes, cafeterias, bars, meeting rooms, media labs, auditoriums and galleries.
Because of its arrangement into a vertically stacked system, this new water treatment plant and community center would become the tallest structure in Gabon establishing itself as an unavoidably visible statement about the importance and potential of water and water management for the future of Gabon as a developed country.