The Kigali Convention Center was unveiled in July 2016 and continues to be the talk of the region. Despite Rwanda’s tragic history and limitations of being a landlocked state, the convention center is proof that the country isn’t letting anything get in the way of its growth and progress. The vibrant space is now the region’s center for technology, innovation, and luxury tourism as it welcomes foreigners and hosts international events with esteemed guests from all over the world.
The cost of construction
The over 105,000 square-foot venue came at a hefty price, as President Paul Kagame reportedly borrowed $300 million for the building. According to Rwanda’s The New Times, Kagame put Roland Dieterle — a German designer who at the time was the chief architect at Siemens, the largest engineering company in Europe — in charge of the expensive project in 2004. Dieterle was flown to Kigali by the Rwandan embassy after a government representative noticed his work at an event in Dubai.
Even though the convention center is positioned to encapsulate Kigali’s bright future, the architecture is an ode to the country’s glorious past and rich traditions. The blue, yellow, and green dome represents the shape of the former kings’ royal residences. For a closer look at what royal life was really like, travelers can head to the city of Nyanza to visit a reconstruction of the original palace. Attached to the dome is a Radisson Blu hotel with a bold multi-colored exterior resembling a traditional Rwandan weaved basket. At night, the structure is always lit up allowing everyone to enjoy these details at all times.
From its 18 conference areas to nearly 300 hotel rooms, multiple restaurants and more, the convention center is versatile. Plus, it’s only a short 10-minute drive from the Kigali International Airport proving it was intended to be at the heart of the city. “When I came to Kigali and was asked to make a design for the convention center I went around Kigali and I saw that there’s no real center in the town, and also there’s not a real landmark building, Dieterle explained to The New Times. “So immediately the idea came up to make a design which is also a landmark building for the city.”
Last, but not least, the environment
A strong emphasis on sustainable efforts became the ultimate finishing touch for the iconic campus. The dome was constructed with LED lights that not only shine, but more importantly, last longer and conserve plenty of energy. The toilets use repurposed water, making this convention center not only the most expensive building on the continent, but one of the most eco-friendly as well.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest