Design-Build Workshops in Ghana

DESIGN-BUILD WORKSHOPS IN GHANA: Building from the Ground Up - With Local Earth
Nka Foundation, NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS from Students and Recent Graduates of Architecture and Design for the 2014 Design-Build Workshops in Ghana. Contact: / for application form

What would happen if you asked a group of Western architects and designers to design a sample component of an arts village in an undeveloped part of Ghana using local materials and infrastructures? Why not join Nka at the FUTURE OF MUD ARCHITECTURE, a design-build workshop in Ghana and find out? The workshop promises high-impact learning practice, ideal for motivated college students or recent graduates seeking real-world learning opportunities to explore and generate design solutions in a location outside of Western culture. Experience how a design problem, budget and site-specific dynamics such as materials, indigenous technologies and community can provoke resourceful thinking and hybridization.

What is the design problem? In Ghana as in other countries in West Africa, from the cities to the low-income villages, use of concrete - despite its dependence on imported resources - is considered indispensable for building. Yet an excellent, cheap and local alternative called laterite, red earth, is available everywhere in Ghana. For example, in the Abetenim area, 98% of the homes are made of mud, yet local stereotypes about buildings made of earth persist because there are several examples of mud homes that have eroded over time due to poor construction and water damage. In light of the problem, every month in 2014, we are running an earth building workshop to bring together architects, designers and volunteers from around the world. The workshop starts on the 10th of every month and is designed to enable participants explore the abundant local natural materials in Abetenim village in Ghana and the accumulated knowledge on the best ways to build in tropical climates to develop a contemporary earth architecture tradition for the region.  The design team has 8 weeks to do site analysis and build their proposal.

Spots are limited for 5 to 7 international participants per workshop, serious students and skilled volunteers are welcome to apply and participate. The project organizers will provide €2,000 ($2,500) to the design team on site to cover materials. You are responsible for your airfare. Participant contributes €400 per month for food and accommodation with kitchen facilities.