A Sail Across Diplomacy: Proposed Design For the Parliament Building of South Sudan by George Robert Yagomba

Parliaments are symbols of the aspirations of nations. It is a fusion of tradition (authentic, organic, emotional, and symbolic) and modernization (highly functional, iconic, unifying, and environmentally conscious).

Such are the words of the student architect that is the author of this work, an iconic parliament in South Sudan that does well to remind you of just how rich the African architectural landscape is from culture to design.

This is seen all across the project with the careful invoking of Dinka doctrines. This is a design that is a status symbol of South Sudanese People (tall, proud, strong, elegant, expressive, rich, color and ornamentation).

Here’s a description from the designer,
The site is located in Wizar Area of Juba in the city of Juba. It is accessible via A43 road, Yei road and May Street. The design is a response to the present Goss parliament building of South Sudan that in clear contrast to it lacks character, iconism and as a symbol of the aspirations of the people.

For the South Sudanese Parliament building to function properly, a clear understanding of various design requirements were paramount. An analysis of these requirements from the five stated cases has laid the foundation of the design;

Circulation: Because the National Assembly is a public building that integrates the activities of MPs, VIPs and the public, a circulation network that caters for these various needs is a key requirement.

Acoustics: the debating chamber’s design should be acoustically responsive, ensuring clarity of sound.

Sight-lines: The Speaker’s podium is the core element in any debating chamber because the Speaker controls the activities of Parliament. The entire audience should have a clear view to the Speaker’s podium.

Lighting: Lighting considerations include both natural and artificial lighting.

Media and Technology: Creating spaces to accommodate modern communication technology-including radio and TV broadcasting, CCTV, Digital Congress Network (DCN) and electronic voting systems-this requires a great deal of planning.

Structural Stability: A structural framework capable of withstanding the unique design.

As such the project endeavored to be environmentally responsive and compatible with its surroundings. The dignity of Parliament is clearly embodied in the building while also fulfilling the functional requirements of the legislature. Also in tandem with this is the building’s efficient and economical technology that avoids intensive maintenance costs.

Most importantly, the South Sudanese Parliament building is an ICON, a symbol of the aspirations, hope, confidence and dignity of the people of South Sudan. The building draws heavily from the traditional Dinka and their love of cows as a source of wealth and pride and this can be clearly seen in the V- Shaped columns that don the building. Also the circular forms mimic the hut element of the building.

The project employs key fundamentals of a successful waterfront which are Theme, Financial Feasibility, Image, Environmental Response, Authenticity, Effective Management, Function, Construction and Technology

The interior reflects an authentic South Sudanese decor, artifacts and cultural materials selected and given utilitarian functions. The local and cultural diversity is reflected in the crafting of interiors. The interior decor and surface treatment showcase local craftsmanship using timber, tapestry, metal inlays and floor coverings. Purpose-built industrial seats upholstered in soft nappa leather and with electronic controls facilitate easy and convenient interaction.

This is a project that puts the spirit of South Sudan, its struggles and history in both  palms, and with effortless ease, exalts it to greater heights.


Location: Juba,  South Sudan
Project Year: 2013
Student: George Robert Yagomba
Project: South Sudan Architecture
Thesis Attachment: Traditional Dinka Architecture
Year: 2013
School: University of Nairobi, Architecture Department
Study Level: 6th Year

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