The Future African Market : a Mall in Yaoundé between Legacy, Trend and Modernity

Ecole Africaine des Métiers d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (EAMAU) a Lomé (Togo)

Project idea

It is the desire to combine the realities of our markets with the modernizing trends of commercial spaces that the concept of Mall-Market is born. The concept of Mall-market is a juxtaposition of needs according to the context to better reclaim the mall equipment.

Project description

The theme « A mall in Yaounde between legacy, trend and modernity » is an area of research on the future of African markets, regarding to the rapid population growth.

The main preoccupation we appropriated was to know which development models were be adopted for urban markets. The answer to this question implies that one should take into consideration the different logics of existing designs and of modern trends in order to generate the most adapted modern trade form for our future market areas.

The mall, consistent set of trade and leisure. It is designed to make the purchasing pleasant by guarantying the best possible conditions of security, hygiene and comfort that traditional markets nowadays barely afford to offer.

Integrating the concept of market in a mall helped us to experiment the concept of flexibility in the project, which avoids to freeze the usage by giving the possibility to later modify it. Other principles, notably the sustainability and the monumentality have been settled as basis for a real integration of the project in its urban context.

The project of mall so far presented reflects a capital city abler to emphasize and promote the Cameroonian economy.

Key words: mall, legacy, trend, modernity, market, trade, flexibility, sustainability, monumentality.

Technical information

The market in African design in a tropical environment should not be a closed space. He grew up by settling in the streets. In doing so, merchants face the weather, and they must take cover. A shelter that wants to be protective but also uncovered because they must continue to carry out their activity. That's why they use umbrellas most often as sunshades in the dry season. In the umbrella, they can carry out their sales activity at any time and the translucent material that constitutes them allows them to be seen and attract customers.

"The umbrella" appears as the symbol of architecture in the exercise of the trader. Thus, inspired by the "concept of umbrella" one can be protected without being hidden, seen being sheltered. From there arises our volumetry.

The relationship between an idea and the technical means of its materialization requires the development of creative structural and constructive solutions because of the formal complexity.

Flexibility in the mall project :
Commercial spaces require an orderly and regular constructive framework. It imposes visuals in all directions. Each shop or store needs a linear showcase promoting its visibility. This is why the chosen carrier structure promotes wide reach and large spans.

Sustainability in the mall project :
By focusing on the internal structure of the "umbrella", the selected materials are of two types. Some are locally available while others are present in the international market. This is the example of wood, which is a natural resource available in Cameroon. The country has the second largest forest cover in Africa with 22 million hectares of forest and more than 300 tree species. Cellular concrete is also available. Its implementation is easy and it provides very good acoustic performance. On the other hand, stainless steel and ETFE film (Ethylene Tetra-Fluoro Ethylene) which have suitable properties that can facilitate the realization of a shape imagined as elastic and flexible.

The considerable roof overhangs. The structure of the cover is like an envelope around the building since it touches the ground and decreases the exposure to the sun.

Integration of the atrium system in the common areas: A well of natural light, it diffuses a sufficient daylight to reduce the artificial lighting and produces a chimney effect allowing to eliminate the stale hot air upwards. This promotes a visual connection between the inside and the outside.

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