With only 3% of Africa’s 1 billion population capable of accessing broadband internet and the wealth of information it provides, a multidisciplinary team, led by a strategic partnership between Architecture for Humanity, Gensler, Son & Sons, Librarians Without Borders, has embarked on an ambitious Kickstarter campaign to create a network of low-cost, digitally powered, revenue-generating libraries “deployed along the expanding fiber optic infrastructure in the developing world.”
If successful, Librii will become the first library to actively engage users as content creators, while operating on a sustainable business model and maximizing the potential of high-speed information exchange in developing markets.
Learn more about this initiative and support their Kickstarter campaing here.
It’s not often that a project requires you to bulk up on your haggling skills.
Then again, it’s not often that a project requires you to re-invent the African Mud Hut either. But that was exactly the task presented to Karolina and Wayne Switzer, participants of the Nka Foundation’s “10×10 Shelter Challenge” to design and build a 10 by 10 feet shelter deep in the heart of Ghana.
The pair, who just completed their project this month, were dependent upon the local community to make the shelter a reality, and had to learn early on how to communicate with the locals – not just to negotiate prices for materials and labor, but to overcome the local stigma associated with mud architecture (usually only used by the very poor).
The result was a contemporary, durable shelter built with a construction method inspired by local tradition: the pounding of the fufu root, a diet staple for the community, which uncannily paralleled the pounding of fresh soil into the forms. Hence the local’s name for the structure: “Obruni fufu” (white man’s fufu).
If you’re interested in getting involved in the 10×10 Challenge (open to students and graduates of design, architecture, art, or engineering, until October 2013), check out the Nka Foundation’s website, www.nkafoundation.org, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Full description of the project, after the break….
WORK Architecture Company (WORKac) has won an international competition to design new Assembly Hall in Libreville – the capital city of Gabon – for the 2014 Summit of the African Union. The New York City firm impressed the jury with their proposal L’Assemblée Radieuse, which offers a self-shading, circular structure that maximizes active and passive design while incorporating the vibrant ecology of the Gabonese Republic.
The new landmark is scheduled to break ground in February 2013 and will be completed in June 2014. Continue reading for the architects’ description.
The Nka Foundation has announced a new competition, open to all students and graduates of design, architecture, art, engineering and schools interested in rural community projects in Africa, that is a design-build challenge at the Abetenim Arts Village near Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The 10×10 Shelter Challenge is an on-site competition structured as a “design-build camp for learning-by-doing” in African Architecture. There are no fixed deadlines with 5 available month long periods to sign up, the first beginning this October, 2012.
Join us after the break for more details on this unique competition.
As part of the celebrations of Algeria’s National holiday on November 1st the foundation stone for the new “Mosquée d’Algérie”, designed by KSP Juergen Engel Architekten, was laid at an official ceremony in Algiers. This formal act marks the beginning of the construction of the world’s third largest mosque after the Islamic pilgrimage sites in Mecca and Medina. With its prayer hall for up to 37,000 people and the approx. 265-meter high minaret, the Mosque will in future be one of the largest religious buildings in the Islamic world. The complex offers space for up to 120,000 visitors daily and, in addition to the prayer hall and the minaret, boasts further facilities such as a cultural center, an Imam School, a library, apartments, a fire station, a museum, and a research center. More images and project description after the break.
Last summer, we shared SHoP’s 270,000 sqf office and research building for Botswana, Africa, a winning proposal that surpassed 17 international competitors. The Innovation Hub is a huge investment for the Botswanan government as an attempt to diversify its ecomony which is primarily based upon diamond extraction to move toward a more “knowledge-based economy.” A lot is at stake for this $50 million project. With thousands of sqf of office space to fill, many wonder if the building and its location can attract the latest researchers; yet, SHoP’s initiative to create an environmentally friendly haven attempts to do just that. “The goal was to create an incubator to invite new startups and other companies into Botswana,” says SHoP principal William Sharples, “and get the country into another economic line besides just diamonds.”
More about the project after the break.
In Africa, urbanization is more rapid than in any other part of the world; it is estimated that by 2030 more than 750 million Africans will be living in cities (more than the urban population of the entire western hemisphere), 45% more than current figures. The challenge is on: Africa’s urban agglomerations will have to be designed to withstand demographic and migration pressures and the challenges of governance, balancing the needs of economic development with those of social inclusion and sustainability.
Out of this scenario comes the idea to launch an International Ideas Competition to design an innovative, expandable and replicable model of an urban area which can provide structural solutions to the challenges/needs of African urbanization. An additional aim of the competition is to focus the best ideas and design capabilities currently available among young European and African architects and engineers on this topic. For more information, please visit the competition’s official website.
The Museum for African Art, New York, and Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies, Committee on Global Thought, and Center for African Education have announced the creation of Sightlines: New Perspectives on African Architecture and Urbanism, a lecture series devoted to Africa’s rapidly changing urban environments.
Sightlines will comprise talks by distinguished practitioners of architecture, urban planning, and architectural theory, each of whom will apply his or her particular area of expertise to the exploration of contemporary African cities as unique built environments. The lectures, which will be open to the public free of charge (see schedule below), will examine the architectural, social, physical, and emotional contours of the cities, while also addressing the global relevance and applicability of this emerging field of discourse. Sightlines additionally includes a lecture by Senegalese artist Viyé Diba, whose work is tied to urbanization.
Complete lectures schedule after the break.
Today OMA announced the appointment of Iyad Alsaka and David Gianotten as new partners in the company. Architectural and research projects in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia have been increasing for OMA and this recent appointment signifies their investment to grow and develop projects within these regions.
In a bold move meant to transform the future and fate of young people in the Bié province of Angola, the non-profit, SHAREcircle, awarded the commission of a master plan for a new university to U.S.-based Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, architects and planners. The plan, which will include the design of a first academic building for Angola Central Highlands University, was the result of an international design competition. More images and project description after the break.
The goal for the design of a model arts village in Ghana, Africa was to be easily built from local materials and local labor at a low cost with a budget of $42,000-$62,000. For final year students, Mihai Dorcu, Stefan Padurariu and Vlad Burlacu, their challenge was to provide a comfortable and multi-use space for the international arts community in the rural part of the country. They would go on to achieve this by tapping into local resources for sustainable development to integrate art into architecture for a more sustainable future. More images and description after the break.
Ousting 17 other companies from Europe, USA and Africa, SHoP Architects was awarded first prize for their design of the Botswana Innovation Hub. The 270,000 sqf office and research building will be a testament to Botswana’s support of research, as well as her promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship.
More about the winning design after the break.
As the FIFA World Cup kicks off, Architecture for Humanity in partnership with streetfootballworld, honors the architects, designers and building professionals across Africa who have helped design sustainable Football for Hope Centres as part of the Football for Hope movement.
The first centre, located outside of Cape Town, South Africa, was completed in December 2009. Centres in Nairobi, Namibia and Mali are currently under construction and aim to be completed around the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The Football for Hope Centres are part of a movement created by FIFA and streetfootballworld to strengthen local community-based organizations in promoting social development within their community. The buildings house facilities to promote public health, education and football initiatives. Find more about the projects here.
HWKN has completed their schematic design phase for their recent project, Aging in Africa, which will move toward construction in the beginning of next year. The project, a retirement community for Catholic priests, (who are excluded from the traditional, family based, model of elder care in Cote D’Ivoire), will be the first age-valued community on the African continent. This simplistic approach to housing will create an environment which is well-suited for the users-where the elderly will be safe and comfortable, and continue to maintain a meaningful and healthy lifestyle.
More about the project after the break.