The Gambia Academy of Music & Culture
The Gambia Academy of Music & Culture is set to be the first cultural centre in The Gambia. Founded by the renowned artist and social activist Sona Jobarteh, this enterprise will offer unprecedented opportunities to both local and international artists from all over the world. At the heart of this institution lie the values of preserving and advancing tradition, cultural exchange, and social development.
In collaboration with Max Fordham and Price & Myers, Penoyre & Prasad have just completed concept design proposals for the Academy, due to be presented to the World Bank in June.
The Academy comprises two parts – a main school for general and specialist musical education for up to 80 children, and the cultural academy providing specialist music and other performance facilities including a concert hall, dance studio, screening room and multi-media suite, and fully equipped recording studio. The library, symbolising knowledge and learning, is a spiral building topped with a metal clad conical rooflight. Built with recycled materials, it houses the school library, as well as an archive of older books, facilities for a digital sound archive, and space for displaying musical instruments and other cultural artefacts.
At the centre of the complex is a circular arrival space – the Bantaba, forming the heart of the Academy and characterised by a large spreading tree and enclosed with low walls. This is the place where the children meet, gather and play when they arrive in the morning. A second, rectangular space forms the cultural plaza, an outdoor space lined with the dance studio, performance hall, an amphitheatre and dining facilities. This is a place for outdoor performances and social gatherings.