Dakar International Conference Center



Republic of Senegal Office of President Ministry of Finance of Senegal, Delegation of La Francophonie
Design & Build Turnkey
13 months
Construction Area
14,270 m2
Tabanlioglu Architects
Site Area
78,000 m2
Starting Date
October 2013
Completion Date
October 2014



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Having an internationally recognized experience in fast track delivery of Congress Centers in Africa attracted attention of many Heads of States who are desiring to have similar projects built in their countries.

In February 2013 our Regional Manager of Equatorial Guinea gave us a call saying that Members of the Presidency of Republic of Senegal were looking for our company "Summa”. Exchanging the contacts of related people from Senegal, on 2 March, 2013 we were given the appointment to meet with His Excellency President of Republic of Senegal Macky Sall.

29 November 2014 was only nineteen months ahead of our first meeting with His Excellency Macky Sall. 2014 was the year for hosting 15th Francophonie Summit in the Capital of Senegal, Dakar. The event was so important that President wanted to make sure that it is successfully organized and guests coming from all French speaking countries enjoyed the facilities of this event. The question was whether Summa was capable to design, engineer, build and put into operation this complex on time. Moreover there was a request to find partial financing from Turkish Eximbank which we have never experienced at a size and complexity of the one being proposed for Dakar.

Our team of engineers began their works by visiting the site dedicated for this project which is a town called "Diamniadio” which is 40 km away from city center of Dakar. Upon making site analysis architects and engineers began their studies and within 8 weeks we were able to present the new concept drawings and 3D animation of "Dakar International Congress Center” to an audience composed of all State Ministers headed by His Excellency President Macky Sall. Upon finishing the presentation there were only one instruction given to us by the audience: "PROCEED” 

After negotiating all terms and conditions, we were capable to start and mobilize ourselves at the jobsite by November 2013 followed by the ground breaking ceremony on October 2013. The contract duration was 400 days and actual completion to place at 373rd day. Within all this period we were capable to execute not only turnkey delivery of the complex but also managing financing from Turkish Eximbank.

I would like to acknowledge the tremendous support shown to this project by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ministry of Finance of Turkey, Turkish Treasury and Turkish Eximbank. The continuous attention of President of Turkey His Excellence Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Minister of Finance His Excellence Mr. Ali Babacan allowed this project to be realized on time.

I hereby would like to thank all Turkish and local staff members for demonstrating such an effort for extremely challenging project which today is recognized by many international organizations starting with International Organization of Francophonie "OIF”. I also would like to thank local authorities of Senegal for their continuous efforts which showed a wonderful cooperation of people of two friendly countries Turkey and Senegal.

Mr. President of Republic of Senegal, allow me to thank you once again for your confidence in us. 

Selim Bora
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On the west coast of Middle Africa, Senegal is by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Senegal River borders the country to the east and north. The capital city of Senegal, Dakar is located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cap-Vert peninsula.

The congress center will be opened for the 15th Francophone Assembly where 75 world presidents meet.

Typical geography and the natural values has been the inspiration for the project. Extraordinary, characteristic Baobab trees of Senegal are distinctive with their enormous girth. Their massive trunks can grow to circumferences of 25 meters or more. Their second distinctive feature is great longevity. Baobabs live well over a thousand years, so that they have been important landmarks in Senegal’s dry savanna plain; in oral histories baobabs are cited as loci of battles, or as marking borders between states. Many of these historic trees have been classified as historic monuments by the Ministry of Culture.

Surrounding water element and the girth of the masses of the project refer to the resource values. Longevity is the aim, both for the physical existence of the building and the power of the country, as well as being a source of pride for Africa.

In history, kings were crowned beneath a tree, parley with envoys beneath the shadowy leaves and branches and trees mark the central public squares of polities; like being sheltered by an ancient monumental tree, the one-piece roof of the project encases the building stacks, and guards each construction dedicated to a special function against weather conditions like direct sunbeams and wind.

The building complex becomes a natural harbor for the presidential meetings providing a serene and secure atmosphere. The construction joins separate units like gathering strong collective identities of divers nations, solving the needs of statesmen’s assemblies and associated events. The units of the complex connected via water and bridges linking the separate blocks accentuate notions of the community’s foundation-creation, duration-continuity and harmony-order, in both social and environmental realms.

The rectangular blocks are nested in a semi- transparent metal envelops as a shield protecting from strong lights and create an implication of security, protecting the interiors from sharp sun beams yet benefiting the daylight at optimum. Mesh application flows around the building, protects the inner glass walls to reduce the heat in order to improve building’s energy efficiency.

The twisted blades forming the texture of the mesh screen behaves like sun-break and grants a shady interior without hindering the accent of transparency. The building with its elegant veil visually merges to the surrounding water and creates eternal reflections over the water.

Through the placement of panels in variationsat different levels and angles, the façade is perceived as an assortment of playful geometries glittering with day light, echoing the colors and tones of the sky.

The three-dimensional effect of the mesh curtain grants the building a feeling of floating expression over the surrounding reflection pool which becomes a dramatic illustration with the sea breeze gliding through the facades. At night, when interiors are illuminated, the oozing beams through incise patterns become even more playful on the water.

Entering the complex is made possible at all sides, one being the service entrance on the north. Presidential entrance directs to the main conference hall, a rectangular space at the first floor. The auditorium where 1500 delegates can gather, presidents’ seats face the audience as a long head table. The hall is situated amid the structure and accessed through the main lobby. The public entrances are given through the public restaurant and before the open-air fair zone, adjacent to the press & administration building, both units on the west-side of the complex. 

The VIP entrance is from the east end of the complex, between the museum unit and the VIP unit, which is a separate block linked to the main hall via transparent connection bridge; the upper level is reserved only for the President of Senegal, from that level the VIP unit directly connects to the VIP restaurant situated above the museum, on the second floor. On both sides of the conference hall backstage, there are Experts’ hall and VIP rooms. All interiors grant a feeling of spaciousness, and create a wide circulation zone.

The balance of light and shadow, transparency of a communal space and confidentiality of affairs of state is carefully practiced in the physical existence of the project.

An understanding of contemporary architecture is proposed for the building which is supported by all means of technological infrastructure, the acoustic concerns are supported by architecture, as well as the quality of technical equipment. High technology and high security systems will be applied in the building.

Align with its function as a meeting place for the presidents, the building is strong and symbolizes to be modern; it is simple but functional and finds its expression in elegance. The genuine construction gains gestures of its own and uses the language of contemporary architecture.

Open to negotiations where leaders shall meet up under one roof, Dakar International Conference Center will be a strong element of high representation. Like the powerful ancient baobab tree –the center will welcome the delegates of nations under its roof for peace, as a step forward for an African union, like the motto of Senegal "One People, One Goal, One Faith”. 
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Project video made by Tabanlıoğlu Architects. / Director: Emre Dörter


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