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Memorial Thomas Sankara

Status:

 Concept

Date:

2017 - 

Site:

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 

Size:

9,760 sqm

Client:

CIM-TS (Comité International du Mémorial Thomas Sankara) 

The Memorial Thomas Sankara is a project to honour and commemorate the memory of the seminal 20th-century Burkinabè thinker, former president and change-maker Thomas Sankara. 

The design proposal for the memorial reflects the genesis of revolution. Understood as a change in direction and a shift in the status quo, revolution is also imbued with ambiguity. It is both renewal as necessity and the implication of rupture, sometimes peaceful, but often brutal. 

The project takes a conciliatory attitude to this seeming discrepancy. The aim is the integration of a structure into an existing landscape while putting innovation at the fore. The memorial is to be an integral part of the Ouagadougou Green Belt urban development plan, acting as a green lung for the city. 

A number of public amenities make up the Memorial Thomas Sankara, including a tower at its centre, restaurants, ateliers, a media library, shops and offices alongside other multi-use facilities. Weaving through the site is a green walkway with gentle ramps where visitors can discover the ideals and core themes of the 1983 revolution led by Thomas Sankara. The overarching objective is to illustrate the humanistic and universal ambitions that guided this struggle. Most importantly, Sankara’s push for universal education, food self-sufficiency and women’s emancipation, which are all key topics that remain relevant to this day.

The 87 m tower in particular is to serve as an urban landmark for the Burkinabè capital, and stands on the site of the 1987 assassination of Sankara and his comrades. The building where the attack took place is preserved as the heart of the memorial, surrounded by water. This creates an area to pay tribute to their memory and provides a quiet environment for remembrance. Its position in the Ouagadougou skyline serves as a reminder of Sankara’s breakaway attitude, proud posture and resilience. 

Visitors are invited to climb the structure using a helicoidal ramp. The path is purposefully long and demanding, emulating the call not to fear the challenging road to change. Tackling the winding route is rewarded with stunning views across the city from a unique vantage point, which also features a restaurant shaped as the contour of Burkina Faso. A suspended funicular cabin provides access to the summit for older people and other abled. 

Unique in Burkina Faso and among its Sahelian neighbours, this innovative and green public attraction is to be open to all without distinction.

The Memorial Thomas Sankara is a project to honour and commemorate the memory of the seminal 20th-century Burkinabè thinker, former president and change-maker Thomas Sankara. 

The design proposal for the memorial reflects the genesis of revolution. Understood as a change in direction and a shift in the status quo, revolution is also imbued with ambiguity. It is both renewal as necessity and the implication of rupture, sometimes peaceful, but often brutal. 

The project takes a conciliatory attitude to this seeming discrepancy. The aim is the integration of a structure into an existing landscape while putting innovation at the fore. The memorial is to be an integral part of the Ouagadougou Green Belt urban development plan, acting as a green lung for the city. 

A number of public amenities make up the Memorial Thomas Sankara, including a tower at its centre, restaurants, ateliers, a media library, shops and offices alongside other multi-use facilities. Weaving through the site is a green walkway with gentle ramps where visitors can discover the ideals and core themes of the 1983 revolution led by Thomas Sankara. The overarching objective is to illustrate the humanistic and universal ambitions that guided this struggle. Most importantly, Sankara’s push for universal education, food self-sufficiency and women’s emancipation, which are all key topics that remain relevant to this day.

The 87 m tower in particular is to serve as an urban landmark for the Burkinabè capital, and stands on the site of the 1987 assassination of Sankara and his comrades. The building where the attack took place is preserved as the heart of the memorial, surrounded by water. This creates an area to pay tribute to their memory and provides a quiet environment for remembrance. Its position in the Ouagadougou skyline serves as a reminder of Sankara’s breakaway attitude, proud posture and resilience. 

Visitors are invited to climb the structure using a helicoidal ramp. The path is purposefully long and demanding, emulating the call not to fear the challenging road to change. Tackling the winding route is rewarded with stunning views across the city from a unique vantage point, which also features a restaurant shaped as the contour of Burkina Faso. A suspended funicular cabin provides access to the summit for older people and other abled. 

Unique in Burkina Faso and among its Sahelian neighbours, this innovative and green public attraction is to be open to all without distinction.

Aerial view of Thomas Sankara Memorial at night. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Entrance of Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Building stages of the Thomas Sankara Memorial.
Roof plan of Thomas Sankara Memorial.
Visitors at the Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Section of Thomas Sankara Memorial.
Interior of Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Inside perspective of Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.
Film projection at the Thomas Sankara Memorial. Render by Kéré Architecture.