The story of the African built environment is often told through historical perspectives of colonization and political crises, emphasizing the difficulties that African people have faced. Economic perspectives such as poverty, development and globalization also create stereotypes of the continent. Often missing from these are the transformations in space that result from daily and repeated use. These transformations emerge from ideas exchanged between people and their movements through their neighborhoods, cities, regions and countries. The quality of spaces that we may find will paint a complex picture of Africa.
GA Collaborative: The Latest Architecture and News
Designers are trained to consider the context for a finished building, but often neglect to consider the construction phase. When architecture is primarily judged based on the impacts it has on their surroundings once they are built, what can be learned from the process of building? The time-lapse is a method that can help architects to do just that, as it can capture years of complex development in a matter of minutes. This can uncover patterns of impact on social and economic levels, as months to years are played back over several minutes.
What is shown by time-lapse videos, though, can be as disturbing as it is interesting; when uncovered, the construction process is a revealing process, and the ramifications in regard to energy consumption can be as monumental as the buildings themselves. The time-lapse allows the viewer to get a better understanding of the types and amounts of materials being put into the construction of buildings, and the impact construction has on its immediate surroundings. By comparing time-lapse videos of different projects, what insight can we gain about how the physically generative process of architecture affects people and place?
Support GA Collaborative's Earthbag Projects in Rwanda: Building Community Through Creative Construction
Following the success of their first Masoro Village Project house, the non-profit design group GA Collaborative (GAC) has released a video and crowdfunding campaign for their latest prototype in Rwanda. Like the previous GAC project, the first of its kind in Rwanda, it too will be built of earthbags, providing the crew further experience with a low-cost and durable construction technique.
This building, a two-story structure for shared kitchen and toilet facilities, will be constructed this summer by the newly-formed builders' cooperative Association Icyerekezo ("New Vision"). Donations to the project will help towards additional material tests, equipment rentals, wages for fifty workers and four student interns ($2.00/day/person), site infrastructure, and travel and temporary accommodation for one GAC member. For even more incentive to donate, the designers have paired up with StitchWorks, who are offering a series of bold textiles inspired by African fabric designs to donors.
Learn more in the video above, and support the Masoro Project here (more images after the break).
The construction of a small single-family home twenty kilometers north of Kigali, Rwanda is now complete. The building is demure: three small bedrooms, a modest living room, and a space for cooking. Poor material availability and financial limitations meant that practicality was its primary design muse. The house is the prototype for a series of homes that the designers, GA Collaborative, will build in Masoro for members of the women’s cooperative l’Association Dushyigikirane. With the project’s uncommon building method—earthbag construction, the first of its kind in Rwanda—GA Collaborative intends to empower its clients with knowledge of an inexpensive and speedy construction technique that requires little training and no prior construction experience.