Infrastructural and Strategic Strengthening of the Somali National University Reconstruction of the Gahayr Campus in Mogadishu

The aim of the Project, financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and coordinated by Politecnico di Milano, is the planning of the restoration of the remaining Campus’ buildings, the design of the new Rectorate and, above all, the development of a new Masterplan that will guide the reconstruction and expansion of the entire premises.

University History

The construction of the Gahayr campus, headquarters of the Somali National University, started in the early ’70s with the donation by Italy of 90 hectares of land in the western area of Mogadishu, following a specific cooperation agreement between the Italian Government and the Federal Transitional Government of Somalia.

The project was developed by Architects Lodovico Quaroni and Salvatore Dierna and adapted to the specific needs of the context, according to a concentric arrangement, by Arch. Roberto De Fraia, sent on site to support the Somali Construction Authority in the implementation phase.

The construction was financed by the European Development Fund and the campus, which included a central core for the rectorate, buildings for the departments and classrooms, services and housing for students and teachers, was officially opened in 1985.

The structure remained in operation until the outbreak of civil war in January 1991 and was later officially reopened on August 16, 2014, after suffering heavy damage and looting.


Nowadays, the Gahayr Campus appears in a critical state: many of the buildings have been demolished, while the remaining ones are in an advanced state of degradation and the spaces left empty have been occupied by the growth of the surrounding urban fabric, in form of illegal slums. However, two of the original Faculty Buildings have been recently renovated and, together with some prefabs located in the southern area, are currently used for teaching purposes.

The Future

The new Gahayr campus will include the Rectorate, 7 faculties (Engineering, Economics, Agriculture, Veterinary, Law, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences), residences for students and teachers, services and sports facilities, as well as open spaces for agricultural and zootechnical activities. Its construction is planned according to a progressive logic, up to host in the final configuration about 20,000 students.

Politecnico di Milano

Politecnico di Milano, university of excellence in Italy and Europe with a consolidated experience in International Cooperation, is involved with 6 departments (DABC, DASTU, DENG, DICA, DIG, DCMC) and more than 50 professors, researchers and technical consultants. The project under development is therefore multidisciplinary and aims to provide technologically advanced and sustainable answers and solutions to the current and future needs of the National Somali University, strengthening the deep link between the Italian and Somali academic world.