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Mass: The Latest Architecture and News

Alternative Healthcare Facilities: Architects Mobilize their Creativity in Fight against COVID-19

As the healthcare infrastructure is becoming overwhelmed and hospitals around the world are reaching their capacities, new alternative possibilities are emerging. In response to bed shortage and facility saturation, architects around the world are taking action, in the on-going fight against the coronavirus. Focusing their knowhow to find fast and efficient design solutions that can be implemented anywhere, they are proposing flexible, fast assembled, mobile, and simple structures. With a very tight timetable, some projects are already implemented and in service, while others remain on a conceptual level, waiting to be adopted.

Courtesy of JUPE HealthCourtesy of Opposite OfficeCURA. Image Courtesy of CURA/ CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati with Italo RotaCourtesy of WTA+ 61

MASS Releases Spatial Strategies for Restaurants in Response to COVID-19

MASS Design Group has released a guideline for restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to help these business reopen safely, viably, and vibrantly. Based on world health recommendations, the drafted protocols aim to keep both staff and customers safe, as well as facilitate operations.

100 Years of Mass Housing in Russia

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Russia’s history of mass housing development can be divided into several distinct periods, each manifested by its own specific type of residential building. These houses reveal what lifestyle, comfort level, construction cost and distinctive traits were considered preferable in any given decade. Every new stage saw its own experiments and had its achievements, which together can be regarded as a line of lessons, discoveries, and experiences, helping to understand a specific character of Russian standard housing.

MASS Design Group to Propose “Bauhaus of Africa” at UN Summit

In designing and building multiple successful public buildings in central Africa and around the world, MASS Design Group has employed and guided thousands of local craftsmen, curating the building process to inspire dignity. Now, they wish to help the African people obtain the skills necessary to guide the process themselves. At the United Nations Solutions Summit this Sunday Christian Benimana, a program director for the non-profit design studio, will present plans for what they are calling the “Bauhaus of Africa”: three “African Design Centers” to be built over the next 10 years in strategic locations throughout the continent. The design centers will house an education program tasked with training a new generation of African architects - a workforce certain to be indispensable as Africa enters a period of unprecedented urban growth.

7 Architects Designing a Diverse Future in Africa

As the legacy of the Cold War fades and Western preeminence gradually becomes a thing of the past, population booms in Asia followed by the growth of a vast non-western middle class have seriously challenged the Western perception of the world. The East has become the focal point of the world’s development.

If East Asia is the present focal point of this development, the future indisputably lies in Africa. Long featuring in the Western consciousness only as a land of unending suffering, it is now a place of rapidly falling poverty, increasing investment, and young populations. It seems only fair that Africa’s rich cultures and growing population (predicted to reach 1.4 billion by 2025) finally take the stage, but it’s crucially important that Africa’s future development is done right. Subject to colonialism for centuries, development in the past was characterized by systems that were designed for the benefit of the colonists. Even recently, resource and energy heavy concrete buildings, clothes donations that damage native textile industries, and reforestation programs that plant water hungry and overly flammable trees have all been seen, leaving NGOs open to accusations of well-meaning ignorance.

Fortunately, a growth in native practices and a more sensible, sensitive approach from foreign organizations has led to the rise of architectural groups creating buildings which learn from and improve Africa. Combining local solutions with the most appropriate Western ideas, for the first time these new developments break down the perception of monolithic Africa and have begun engaging with individual cultures; using elements of non-local architecture when they improve a development rather than creating a pastiche of an imagined pan-African culture. The visions these groups articulate are by no means the same - sustainable rural development, high end luxury residences and dignified civic constructions all feature - but they have in common their argument for a bright future across Africa. We’ve collected seven pioneers of Africa’s architectural awakening - read on after the break for the full article and infographic.

Pretoria's Freedom Park, designed by MMA Design Studio with GAPP Architects and MRA Architects. Image Courtesy of MMA Design Studio, GAPP Architects and MRA ArchitectsThe Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria. Image © NLÉ ArchitectsButaro Hospital in Rwanda. Image © Iwan BaanRed Pepper House in Lamu, Kenya. Image © Alberto Heras+ 29