Crowdfunding launched to build international cricket stadium in Rwanda
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Crowdfunding launched to build international cricket stadium in Rwanda

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The inspiration comes largely from two places: the green rolling hills of Rwanda and the trace of a bouncing cricket ball.
– Michael Ramage, Light Earth Design

A funding campaign to build a self-sustaining cricket ground of international standard in Rwanda is gathering momentum.

Cricket is Rwanda’s fastest growing sport and has been used as a tool in recent years to bring people together in the country, which was torn apart by genocide in 1994.

Despite the burgeoning interest, there are a lack of cricketing facilities in the country, and so the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF) was founded to establish a dedicated home for the sport on a 4.5 hectare plot on the outskirts of the capital Kigali.

The RCSF has partnered with architecture studio Light Earth Designs to design the stadium, which will be made using local materials and land use technologies intended to catalyse sustainable building practices.

Building costs have been estimated around the million pound mark. So far three quarters of the sum has been raised, with funding campaigns now active on the Homestrings and Virgin money giving websites to try and make up the difference.

In addition, cricketing legends David Gower and Michael Vaughan are scheduled to join former British prime minister David Cameron for a fundraising event at the Oval in London later this year.

“The project is innovative both from the point of view of sport and architecture,” Light Earth Design founding partner Michael Ramage told CLAD. “The idea of bringing cricket at an international level to Rwanda is very important for the development of the sport in the country, and will allow for fixtures that generate a lot of interest inside and outside the country.

“Architecturally, it will be a building that’s very much of Rwanda built by Rwandans for Rwandans. It will be something the entire country can take pride in. It grows out of an in-country interest in the design, rather than being something wacky and imposed from outside.

“The inspiration comes largely from two places: the green rolling hills of Rwanda and the trace of a bouncing cricket ball. That has influenced the shape of the stadium’s three vaults and the pavilion as they come down a slope between two cricket pitches.”

To avoid using unsustainable and expensive imported materials, the stadium’s main vaults will be constructed using recycled ceramic tiling and compressed earth blocks formed of 95 per cent soil and 5 per cent cement. These will be constructed into a largely self-supporting structure.

Many workers will be hired to complete the project and sharing transferrable building skills is a key focus of the project.

The facility will contain dressing rooms, a press viewing area, a bar and restaurant and a clubhouse offering free HIV testing for the local community. Spectator seating will extend outside, with green terraces built into the banks on either side of the building, overlooking the two international-standard pitches.

A second phase of development, taking place after the first building is constructed, will see a multi-purpose facility added – bringing dormitory accommodation, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and six tennis courts to the site.

The facility will be run on a not-for-profit basis, operating a ‘sport for all’ policy to encourage Rwandans from all ages, genders and backgrounds to have access to cricket. A training, coaching and support structure will also be introduced by the foundation and the government.

Construction on the pitches is already underway. If the required funding is raised by the end of this year, full building work is likely to begin in summer 2017.

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A funding campaign to build a self-sustaining cricket ground of international standard in Rwanda is gathering momentum.
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