Supporting African Cultures talk

I’m going to be giving a lecture today–November 6 at 5:30pm, Room 281 Bolton Street, Dublin 1–on “Supporting African Cultures through Architecture.” This is part of the lecture series for 4th and 5th year architecture students but the topic should be of interest to others as well and all are welcome to attend.  A description of the talk is below the photos.

Images from Tanzania (copyright Shannon Chance).

Supporting African Cultures through Architecture

Knowledge of Africa’s heritage and accomplishments is woefully lacking in the media today. The tendency to leave Africa out of the literature on architecture and planning hinders designers everywhere. It denies them access to specialized information that could help construct better environments. Their failure to understand the subtleties of various African cultures often results in modern construction – particularly that funded by foreign donors – that does not effectively meet the needs and interests of the people. Even architects, spatial planners, and policy makers who live in Africa lack access to research that could help them make better choices.

This trend presents a quandary: How can one contribute to improving quality of life around the world, without imposing values that harm others? A poor response is to avoid getting involved. Doing nothing only perpetuates inequities of health, wealth, and personal freedom.

This presentation discusses the work of Livin Mosha and Shannon Chance, two scholars working to generate this type of information. As architects and educators, Chance and Mosha share an interest in: understanding the heritage of African places, constructing a cross-cultural dialogue, developing a vision for the future, and translating the voices of Africa to others. Their goal is to promote cultural-specific architecture, planning, and policy in East Africa and beyond. This talk describes their findings and their recommendations for the future.

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