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The area around the convention center is even lower level. I attached a screenshot from Google earth. Most of these seem to be single-family residential buildings. View attachment 1334171
Kimihurura and Gishushu are expensive neighborhoods to live in. The area is also calm with not many people walking around. Quartier commercial instead is chaotic and the commercial buildings are old while the pathways are in bad shape due to all people walking on them daily.
 

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No, it does not make me an expert in architecture, but it does make me a potential tourist, and here we talk about architecture to attract tourists, right?
That's not my angle. I want architecture to be beautiful and harmonious for its own sake. And just because I live in America doesn't make my opinion more important than the locals in Rwanda who live in the city every day. With that being said, we both agree that most of these new projects in Kigali are excellent, but I think many architects around the world would agree that those observation decks on the Nobelia tower are very disharmonious with the rest of the structure. It would be a gorgeous building if they had one or two very large observation decks or none at all.
 

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Kimihurura and Gishushu are expensive neighborhoods to live in. The area is also calm with not many people walking around. Quartier commercial instead is chaotic and the commercial buildings are old while the pathways are in bad shape due to all people walking on them daily.
Yea but Nobelia and Kigali Green complex are commercial buildings, and it makes more sense to put them in the CBD instead of a residential neighborhood. Atleast, this way they will boost the cities skyline. But I understand what you mean about how run down the Quartier commercial is. Most Americans think the whole of Kigali looks like the car free zone (because of Kagame's excellent PR) and they would be disappointed to see most of it actually looks like this.

Are they any plans to re-develop this area?
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It is being already, the picture you just posed for example is from the mid 2010s. Now the upper left part of the picture is completely gentrified with several new buildings U/C, it's the road of the I&M building, now the best road in the city center. Let's take a look in another 5 years. If the Kigali International Financial Center succeeds there will be a boom of high end commercial buildings like those green towers.

 

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No, it does not make me an expert in architecture, but it does make me a potential tourist, and here we talk about architecture to attract tourists, right?
The problem was with one of us saying poverty is an excuse for poor architecture.

Rwanda was poorer than it is today when it built the convention centre at a cost $300million.
That convention rcentre has brought in a lot of tourist cash into the economy.
If it could build the convention centre at $300million at that time, then it can build something better now that's its richer
 

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Is the Quartier commercial a protected zone of Kigali when it comes to the street-level facade? Just asking out of observation of the area where upcoming new buildings are built behind the existing unaltered street facade.
 

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Is the Quartier commercial a protected zone of Kigali when it comes to the street-level facade? Just asking out of observation of the area where upcoming new buildings are built behind the existing unaltered street facade.
what do you mean exactly, these buildings that are being teared down if there is something new to be built
 

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Nyarugenge | La Maison Verte | U/C

Rwanda's first Net Zero Building

La Maison Verte, an 8-storey building in Kigali with 2 basements and roof is targeted to be the first building in the country to achieve Net Zero Energy status by using both passive and active design strategies.

 

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Nyarugenge | Landmark House | U/C



That's a beautiful building. I'm loving the uniformity in Kigali's development -- which features the consistent use of red brick, glass, and natural elements. Do you know what is incentivizing all these private companies to build environmentally-friendly structures in the city?
 

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It is being already, the picture you just posed for example is from the mid 2010s. Now the upper left part of the picture is completely gentrified with several new buildings U/C, it's the road of the I&M building, now the best road in the city center. Let's take a look in another 5 years. If the Kigali International Financial Center succeeds there will be a boom of high end commercial buildings like those green towers.
Excellent. But I hope they also make use of horizontal space along with vertical space. I'm talking about quality, mid-rise commercial buildings with store fronts that flow seamlessly together. European cities tend to do this very well. I don't know if the government forced them to smash their buildings together like this, but its a very nice look, makes cities walkable. And I would like to see more of this sort of thing in Africa.

This sort of layout is also more environmentally friendly because you don't need cars
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Good architecture brings more money through tourism.
Bad architecture may actually be more costly in the long run in the sense that you might one day need to demolish and rebuild
I live in Europe, we may have different standards and expectations...
To me these projects are relatively comparable to what we can find here in term of functional and formal approach.

Appearance is not equal to sustainability...
You demolish buildings that need to be demolished not the ones that bother your esthetic sensibility a little bit much...

I also don't expect universities to generate that kind of tourism...

In France we have many visually terrible public buildings that went through maintenance and also visual refurbishment, many of our universities are ugly, but at least they produce a sizeable amount of brains... Because that's the purpose of these buildings in the first place... Let's not forget that...

Rwanda seems to be aiming at sustainability and local sourcing construction materials which I find great.

If you contextualize all of this, these architectural projects are more than decent... Imo

I agree that the tower renders are not terrible, but won't be surprised if this building turns out to be way better.
Sometimes renders undersell projects, I use my imagination to compensate the bad quality of visuals...

I'm wondering what good architecture is to you however.
 

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I'm talking about quality, mid-rise commercial buildings with store fronts that flow seamlessly together. European cities tend to do this very well
"quartier commercial" is exactly like that but those buildings are old and decrepit

Do you know what is incentivizing all these private companies to build environmentally-friendly structures in the city?
If I'm not mistaken there are both tax incentives and a minimum green compliance system for large projects
 

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I live in Europe, we may have different standards and expectations...
To me these projects are relatively comparable to what we can find here in term of functional and formal approach.

Appearance is not equal to sustainability...
You demolish buildings that need to be demolished not the ones that bother your esthetic sensibility a little bit much...

I also don't expect universities to generate that kind of tourism...

In France we have many visually terrible public buildings that went through maintenance and also visual refurbishment, many of our universities are ugly, but at least they produce a sizeable amount of brains... Because that's the purpose of these buildings in the first place... Let's not forget that...

Rwanda seems to be aiming at sustainability and local sourcing construction materials which I find great.

If you contextualize all of this, these architectural projects are more than decent... Imo

I agree that the tower renders are not terrible, but won't be surprised if this building turns out to be way better.
Sometimes renders undersell projects, I use my imagination to compensate the bad quality of visuals...

I'm wondering what good architecture is to you however.
To be fair to Jkamer, I don't think he was really heavily criticizing anything or calling for buildings to be torn down. He simply said the designs quote "don't impress him". I have attached images of the designs in question. The hostel (first image) is O.K, but I think we can all agree its nothing special for a city like Kigali. The second is the school of architecture. I personally like this design, but I also understand why a perfectly reasonable person wouldn't. A healthy and critical public debate is what a society needs, not the other way around.

BTW, Europe definitely didn't get to where it is by accepting whatever developers foisted on them. Parisians wrote songs and poems about how much they hated the Eiffel tower. And here is what was said about the famous Oriel Chambers when it first opened in London:

"The plainest brick warehouse in town is infinitely superior as a building to that large agglomeration of protruding plate-glass bubbles in Water Street termed Oriel Chambers. Did we not see this vast abortion – which would be depressing were it not ludicrous – with our own eyes, we should have doubted the possibility of its existence. Where and in what are their beauties supposed to lie?

Passionate architectural criticism has been a feature of western culture for centuries.
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"quartier commercial" is exactly like that but those buildings are old and decrepit



If I'm not mistaken there are both tax incentives and a minimum green compliance system for large projects
Yea, hopefully they can keep that aspect of the area while modernizing it because I would hate to see Kigali become a city of skyscraper islands, fenced off estates, and malls. The swiss cube design would be a good way to affordably upgrade some of these areas. I believe units like this can be put up for less than $30,000 each
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BTW, Europe definitely didn't get to where it is by accepting whatever developers foisted on them. Parisians wrote songs and poems about how much they hated the Eiffel tower. And here is what was said about the famous Oriel Chambers when it first opened in London:
Don't get me wrong, debate is totally what's need to happen. People have to be involved, especially when it comes to their needs...

But at the same time, transformative operations like that require a certain level of pragmatism and inertia must be maintained.

To take another parisian example, the haussmann plan is the result of a powerful willingness to transform the city at a time public debate wasn't a thing and modernization was an absolute necessity.
They couldn't consider so much opposition, and at the same time, their very rational take on urban planning and construction allowed them to deliver something that stand the test of time.

So yeah, a certain class of parisian may have been vocal from time to time but most of what makes Paris what it is on urban and architectural level is the result of strong and visionary minds.

And I'm glad Rwanda is building a decent school that will allow future visionary minds to produce greater things.

I get it, many projects may look very modest for a nation that ambitions to be the "Singapore of the great lakes"... But to me it's just the right balance for the moment, and it is totally uprgadable in the future. These brick house for example are truly charming. And the great stuff is for tomorrow.
 
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