Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Bumbogo Rwanda - Toponymic Urbanisim

Leah Libsekal of AnotherAfrica writes about the Rwanda-based design firm Design Firm George Pericles which are part of the emerging next generation of thinkers and designers working to shape the urban form and future of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda and beyond.  

Indeed, with rapid urbanisation the need for innovative ideas rooted in Rwandan culture, traditions and context provides opportunity for practical and locally appropriate solutions in the quest for infrastructure development. Particularly in such a critical moment as this, with the rise in new developments and neighbourhoods in cities such as Kigali that are built with little to no consideration of Rwandan context, George Pericles has raised the critique that these solutions fail to meet the local populace’s everyday needs but will also give rise to more problems in the future. Rather than applying a tabula rasa, they are looking to blend culture and advanced technologies to create a progressive urban fabric importing rural cultural values where applicable.

In their latest project  Bumbogo Rwanda : Toponymic Urbanism design office George Pericles have taken up this challenge. They propose an innovative if not ambitious project designed to produce an adaptable future matrix that responds to both economic and cultural factors beginning with Kigali.
Bumbogo decries the superimposition of a master plan or vision from elsewhere, a cardinal tenet. As such the urban matrix uses building blocks that blend regional culture with advanced technologies to produce a vision for an up-to-date urban fabric.  To this end, the “Umurenge” or smallest administrative subdivision in Rwandan governance plays an integral role to provide basic services such as water, education, health care and markets. From there George Pericles envision a notion they term ‘Fair-Urbanism.’ Essentially a joint public and private cooperative structure employed to built urban infrastructure such as roads, water and waste collection systems. In the case of Addis Ababa, such local initiatives have been in operation where residents of a given neighbourhood would cooperate to pave local ‘secondary’ roads. With ideas such as this, Guilliame Sardin, lead designer behind the project affirms his point stating that
Images and Drawings are Courtesy of George Pericles 

The New Rugo - A Traditional Burundi and Rwandan House

According to the george pericle's website "....The Rugo is the traditional Burundi & Rwandan house. New Rugo is a low-cost housing project located in Burundi. 

The project questions the relations between domestic spaces and culture. We establish a link between the values of pre-colonial (community, adaptability) and modern typology. 

We believe that planning has to respond to current needs, but also to be relevant for a wealthier and more developed Africa. That’s why affordable housing for the poorest has to be able to evolve as comfort standards evolve

By merging the two typologies, the two structures, we designed a new one, the new rugo. The new rugo is evolutive, allowing changes as Burundi & Rwandan societies evolved.

The New Rugo is a typology  easily replicable, environmentally aware. With low cost technologies and cultural appropriateness, we developed a system empowering fragile communities in Burundi 
and in Rwanda..."

Images are courtesy of george pericle's website

Monday, March 25, 2013

Gaoui Village African Traditional Architecture

Gaoui is a craft village located 10km north-east of N'Djamena the capital city of Chad folklore says that the village was once the capital of the Sao civilisation - a  race of giants.
It is now known for its spectacular traditional architecture and pottery.

Photos courtesy of Hervé Cheuzeville