Architectural Design and the Building Process

Mumuni shortlisted for 2017 UIA Friendly and Inclusive Spaces award

Lubuto Architect Eleni Coromvli’s design for Mumuni Library was shortlisted by the International Union of Architects for the 2017 Friendly and Inclusive Spaces award. It is truly an honor for such a prestigious group to see Eleni’s designs as creating “socially sustainable environments through high quality architectural design.”

In their comments, the prize's jury remarked on Mumuni:

       "the character of the library in three separate
        buildings is seamlessly attuned to the character
        of Zambian indigenous architecture. Reading and
        learning inside familiar architectural spaces facilitate
        a happy transition into the world of education."

Because it was shortlisted, Mumuni was presented at the 2017 UIA World Congress of Architecture Award Ceremony in Seoul, which attracted thousands of attendees.


Lubuto constructs enduring open-access libraries whose design is inspired by traditional and contemporary social, economic and cultural patterns and which freely offer comprehensive collections of well-chosen books and technology resources. These libraries serve as safe havens and are the center for dynamic library programming offering education, psychosocial support and self-expression through reading, music, art, drama, computers, mentoring and other activities.

It is our policy to source craftsmen, labor and materials locally when possible. Eleni Coromvli—the architect for Lubuto libraries—focuses her designs on providing maximum functionality and sustainability.  The comfortable, welcoming and inspiring environments provide a place where youth feel at home and connected to their roots.

Lubuto libraries have multiple buildings, following the traditional pattern of homesteads in Zambia. Outside seating and spaces between the buildings also create a performance space and venue for social gatherings. The largest building, a Reading Room, houses the book collection and features reading alcoves and a central “talking circle” for reading, teaching, group activities and performances.  The Arts and Activities room accommodates computer use, visual arts and writing programming.  The entrance “Insaka” features a sink where users can wash their hands before entering the other buildings, and also serves as a meeting and communication space that is ideal for drama and storytelling.

Mumuni Library—the first rural Lubuto library—features a fourth building that offers programming and a safe community space for teens and young adults.