Schlangenhaus, 2018

Kigali (Rwanda)

The task of the design was to develop a museum extension to the Richard Kandt House, a natural history museum in Kigali (Rwanda). A room was to be designed to create space for the snake collection of the museum. The room program includes an exhibition room as well as a preparation room. The building was to be located in the forest adjacent to the Museum of Natural History.

Before the Christian faith was brought to Rwanda people believed in a creator god. Many creatures and animals were considered holy. The most important and holy animal was the snake. Furthermore it was believed that people would turn into snakes after they died. Although the majority of the population is Christian today, the belief in the Creator God and the worship of snakes is still deeply rooted in culture. The 'Schlangenhaus' should do due justice to the importance of the snakes by its exaggerated and sacral appearing space. Formally the view of the building reminds of a mausoleum. The simple cubature of the building is wrapped in a pattern by setting back individual stones. This pattern is based on one of the Imigongo artworks typical for the area.