Application Deadline - Kaira Looro Architecture Competition 2024 Maternity Centre in rural areas of Africa

  • Date

    Tuesday, June 11 2024

  • Time


Pregnancy and giving birth constitute a crucial challenge in the lives of women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Every year, more than 200,000 women lose their lives due to a lack of basic care. Taking so many lives and resulting in more than 1 million orphans each year, this issue is often the result of complications that could be prevented or treated with access to basic medical care.
In Africa, one in 16 women risks dying giving birth to a new life, while in other parts of the world, thanks to prenatal care and specialized assistance during childbirth, this risk affects one in 35,000 women.

About the Competition

The “Kaira Looro” is an international architecture competition for students and young architects, the objective of which is to grow up careers of new architectural talent, raise awareness in the international community regarding the topics of emergency, and support humanitarian projects. Participation is open to architects, students, designers, engineers and anyone who wants to propose a solution to the theme. It is possible to participate in the competition individually or in teams, with one requirement: the presence of under 35 years old on the team.

The entries received will be evaluated by a jury made up of prominent architects: Kengo Kuma (KKAA), Benedetta Tagliabue (Benedetta Tagliabue – EMBT Architects), Agostino Ghirardelli (SBGA | Blengini Ghirardelli), Mario Cucinella (Mario Cucinella Architects), Raul Pantaleo (TAM Associati), Tosin Oshinowo (Oshinowo Studio), Emmanuelle Moureaux (Emmanuelle Moureaux Architecture + Design), Saad El Kabbaj, Driss Kettani, Mohamed Amine Siana and an scientific committee made up of Raoul Vecchio (Balouo Salo), Sebastiano D’Urso (University of Catania and other specialist in architecture and humanitarian actions.

Awards will be given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, 2 honorable mentions, 2 special mentions, 20 finalists, and 20 Top 50. The winning project will receive a cash prize (5.000 €) and an internship at KKAA studio in Japan, as well as the construction of the project as humanitarian intervention. The other internships will be awarded to the 2nd place team at EMBT in Spain and to the 3rd place at SBGA, and respectively 2.000€ and 1.000€. Furthermore, all of the projects will be published on the competition’s website and in its official book, transmitted to 30 of the competition’s global media partners, and shared with institutional partners.

The objective of this competition is to select an architectural design for a Maternity Centre, offering healthcare throughout pregnancy. Organizers are looking for an innovative model – an emblematic, cozy and professional place where every woman can feel safe. The building must be designed as a humanitarian operation and for self-construction, i.e., without qualified personnel or construction companies, with the direct participation of the local community, without the use of heavy vehicles, and with sustainable technologies and local materials.

Competition Guidelines

The project must include at least the following areas, which may be developed in one or more structures according to the architect’s vision:

  1. Reception area and waiting room: A welcoming space for patients and their relatives.
  2. Reserved area for healthcare personnel: A dedicated area for medical staff (about 5 persons) to document cases, make decisions, monitor pregnancies, sterilize medical instruments and store medical supplies. Toilets and changing rooms for staff must also be provided.
  3. Medical examination and consultation area: A room designed for medical examinations and consultations.
  4. Ward areas: A space to monitor women during the early stages of labor and prepare them for transfer to the delivery room, and a post-partum recovery space, with equipment for newborn and maternal care including beds, heating pads, toilets and showers. (Maximum 8 beds)
  5. Labour and delivery area: A delivery area with the highest levels of hygiene and lighting.
  6. Operating area for caesarean sections: A sterile operating room to be used in case of complications or surgical procedures.
  7. Neonatal observation area: An area dedicated to monitoring newborns after birth, in case of complications or a premature birth.

All these environments must be designed to ensure the highest hygienic and sanitary conditions, guaranteeing comfort and safety for both pregnant women and newborn babies, as well as for healthcare personnel. The Maximum indoor surface area is 350 square meters.

The competition is organized by the Balouo Salo Non-Profit Organization, engaged in charitable projects in Africa, and all proceeds (obtained from the registration fees), will be entirely donated to the implementation of humanitarian projects in Africa to improve the living conditions of communities in rural areas. The winning projects of the 2022 and 2021 editions are currently under construction, with the support of the competition revenues.


Registration will open on January 12th, 2024.

Early registration: January 12th - February 29th, 2024
Normal registration: March 1st - April 8, 2024
Late registration: Apr 9th - May 14th, 2024
Submission Deadline: June 11th, 2024
Winners' announcement: July 9th, 2024