Architectural Design and the Building Process

Mumuni Library receives UIA “Friendly and Inclusive Spaces” Award Special Mention

Eleni Coromvli’s submission of the Mumuni Library to the 2017 International Union of Architects (UIA) Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards garnered a Special Mention

The UIA Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards were founded to encourage and acknowledge architects who have created exemplary friendly, inclusive and accessible buildings and public spaces. Entries must demonstrate that they have met the highest standards of universal and inclusive design, where the realised designs contribute to the quality of life of all those who may use them.

Awards are given in four categories: New Buildings, Public Spaces, Existing & Historic Buildings and Research. Entries are assessed in two stages, first by an international jury located in each of the UIA’s five regions and finally by an international jury including a past award winner.

In 2017 a total of 76 entries were received from 28 countries across five continents. The jury was impressed by the range of project types submitted and by the standard and quality of the shortlisted entries. 

In the New Buildings category, Lubuto’s Architect Eleni Coromvli received a Special Mention for the Mumuni Library.  The Jury’s comment:  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. Ramps to the building entrances ensure access to those with mobility aids.

Winners of the 2017 Edition of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards (Medals and Special Mentions) were formally presented on the 6th September 2017 at the UIA Award Ceremony in Seoul, Korea, during the 26th UIA Congress of Architecture.  The medal winning entries, special mentions and all shortlisted entries were exhibited on the UIA Architecture for All Work Programme Stand at the UIA Congress in Seoul from the 3rd – 7th September 2017 and are subsequently exhibited on the UIA Friendly and Inclusive Spaces Awards platform. 


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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 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.