UCD graduate up for architecture award

Thu, Feb 7, 2013, 00:00

This Football for Hope centre in Rwanda, designed by Irish architect Killian Doherty, has been nominated as Education Building of the Year 2012 by Architects for Humanity in San Francisco.

The community building is in one of the most densely populated and most disadvantaged areas of the capital city, Kigali. It opened last year and is the only one of Fifa's 20 Centres for 2010 - a campaign to create 20 such centres for public health, education and football across Africa - to be nominated.

Doherty, a Derry-born graduate of UCD, came to Rwanda on a one-year contract after a period in South Africa, but stayed on to finish the project, supporting himself through teaching and working on similar schemes like low cost housing and refugee centres.

The centre is run by Esperance, a youth organisation using football as a tool for reconciliation and conflict resolution. The brick-built building has a dramatic canopy roof that not only harnesses water but also acts as a communal outdoor space. The containers used to transport the pitch were recycled as a water tower and a storage facility.

With 4,000 children attending the adjoining school, the aim of the centre is to help their literary and sporting skills, enhance their self-confidence and improve public-health awareness.