This article was made in partnership with Design Indaba, a website and annual festival that uncovers innovation for good. Click here to learn more about the annual event. Niger-born architect Mariam Kamara shared how she is shifting perceptions of her home country at the 2019 Design Indaba Conference in Cape Town. Founder of the architecture and research firm atelier masōmī, Kamara was a software developer for several years before joining united4design, a global collective of architects working on projects in the U.S., Afghanistan and Niger. At the Design Indaba Conference, Miriam discusses her work and what it means to put people at the forefront of practice. In 2014, Kamara founded atelier masōmī to tackle a wide variety of public, cultural, residential, commercial and urban design projects. Her work is guided by the belief that architects have an important role to play in thinking spaces that have the power to elevate, dignify, and provide a better quality of life. She believes that design is as crucial as politics and economic development. "For me, vernacular architecture is about understanding our traditional techniques and rebooting it so that we can make new things.” Now, she works between her hometown, Niamey in Niger, and Providence, near Boston in the the United States.
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