The history and architecture of Burkina Faso is tied to its landscape. As a landlocked country in western Africa, it occupies an extensive plateau with grassy savannas and sparse forests. More than two-thirds of the people live in rural villages, and as such, the country’s modern architecture is the product of ingenuity born from reimagining traditional building materials and techniques.
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Although the practice of architecture has historically done little to address the basic needs of those in the developing world, in recent years architects have gradually extended their reach into the realm of humanitarian work, as most notably exemplified by Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban. Despite these advances, one third of the world’s population does not have access to adequate sanitation. This is astounding given the amount of resources and technology we have available to us in the 21st century, and it is a problem that architects have the opportunity to solve; some architects, including Julia King, have already begun to take on this challenge. It is also the focus of “Zero Project,” the first initiative of non-profit organization BuildAChange. Read about their proposal after the break.