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tap:Exchange 4.2 transcultural praxis programme

  1. 1. tap:Exchange PRAXIS Friday December 4, 2015 | 15:00 to 20:00 The CASS London Metropolitan University,Central House 59-63 Whitechapel High Street E1 7PF London TRANSCULTURAL 4.2 : Conceived & Organised by thearchitectsproject.org The Architects' Project#tap Hosted :by tapping local resources for sustainable development A half-day of talks, a workshop and an exhibition on the sustainable application oflocal and foreignresourcesin context-specificarchitecture.
  2. 2. Dear Friends and Colleagues: Welcome to tap:Exchange 4.2 Tapping Local Resources For Sustainable Development: TRANSCULTURAL PRAXIS We hope you share our enthusiasm for using the tap:Exchange platform to explore what is local about foreign. For tap:Exchange 4.2, we will continue our research and development theme Tapping Local Resources for Sustainable Development. This is the first official activity for The Architects’ Project in the UK. Transcultural Praxis brings an exhibition, a workshop and a seminar together for the purpose of drawing out knowledge and creative experiences in sustainable methods of context-specific architecture in transformative communities. Sincerely, Juliet Sakyi-Ansah On behalf of the OrganisingTeam Friday 4th December 2015
  3. 3. The Architects’ Project or #tap in short, is an autonomous initiative focused on advancing the cause of context-specific architectural learning and practice using a ‘bottom-up.’ #tap engages all actors in the built environment, i.e. thinkers, users and makers.The initiative begun in December 2013, with three key programmes surrounding the creation and sharing of knowledge, processes and approaches in relation to products, and architecture as a tool for development. tap:Exchange: • is a component of tap, which comes under the umbrella of tapping Ghana; • is concerned with both the education and practice of architecture in Ghana; • is a real live platform for constructive critical thinkers, doers, and users of the built environment; • feeds into the research strand of #tap’s overall agenda; the part where we identify and understand the common problems; and • wants to bring together local and international researchers and practitioners, groups and/ or individuals, to provide solutions to the common problems. The Architects’ Project is a financially self-suffifient initiatve spearheaded by Juliet Sakyi-Ansah and a team of individuals from all corners of the world. Juliet Sakyi-Ansah _ ARC | AGIA Juliet gained her practical training atAlec FrenchArchitects andWHWArchitects in Bristol UK, working as an RIBA Part 1 Architectural Assistant (2005-2007). Her interest in research and knowledge exchange activities led to the successful delivery of two international architecture conferences; the Production of Place (2012), the first major international conference in architecture to be held at the University of East London;and ECOLOGYTheory Forum (2009), the first student-led conference at the Sheffield School of Architecture. Juliet has been awarded the University of Sheffield Centenary Prize (2010),Sir H.K.Stephenson Travelling Studentship in Architecture (2009), the Stephen Lawrence Bursaries (2002-05), and theWest Midlands Black-AchieversAward (2000).Juliet fulfils her social responsibilities through causes such as Architecture for Humanity’s Crisis Bermondsey Project (2012), the Stephen Lawrence CharitableTrust Design Exhibition (2012) and REGUA Brazil (2007).She initiatedThe Architects’ Project (Dec. 2013,Accra) and actively operates it as an autonomous initiative to boost the education and practice of architecture in local contexts with global agenda. Before her recent position with a commercial practice in Birmingham, Juliet lived in Accra and worked for a local Ghanaian firm (2013-2015). She was appointed by Solterre Design from Halifax Canada asVolunteer Site Project Manager prior to leaving Ghana. Juliet supervised and directed on-site work to bring Korkor’s Community Library (Abetenim Ghana) to it’s Final Completion. The Architects’ ProjectAbout 3
  4. 4. Tapping local resources for SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Over the last year, a wave of on-site live projects from international groups has been springing up in rural and suburban Ghana. Their common goal is to use local building materials. Elsewhere on-ground, government agencies in the country have been given the mandate to promote the use of local building materials.As an initiative that picks up on issues of local and global concern,The Architects’ Project embarked on the series tapping local resources for sustainable development. The first in the series was a successful symposium in collaboration with the ARC (Architects Registration Council of Ghana is the Ghanaian equivalent of the ARB in the UK).We brought together professionals from the built environment to kick start a dialogue on tapping local resources for sustainable development; how to incorporate local building materials in contemporary Ghanaian architecture. Earlier this year,#tap was live on one of the most earth-building prototype-populated sites in Ghana with Nka Foundation. Hosted by the Foundation in Abetenim near Kumasi, tap:Exchange 4.1 brought foreign workshop participants, local architecture students from KNUST and local community artisans together for a seminar and workshop on the use-reuse of locally-sourced materials for innovative architecture that reflect the needs of its people and environment. Local Metal Workshop, Abetenim Ghana Image source: Juliet Sakyi-Ansah, The Architects’ Project, April 2015 4
  5. 5. Transcultural Praxis Seminar RIBA Role Model Architect Elsie Owusu OBE is our guest speaker for our seminar on Transcultural Praxis.The seminar aims to;a) address the sustainable application of local and foreign resources in modern practice by using recent architectural interventions that have been steered by foreign agendas in Ghana and related places as the critical context for discourse; b) explore the sustainability of context-specific architecture with non-contextual resources in transformative cultures. Workshop The workshop on Negotiating Local is particularly relevant to those who practice and/or research in countries such as Ghana (NGOs, research institutions and individual practitioners). The aim is to study recent interventions in these social and environmental situations, in an attempt to generate accessible tool(s) to facilitate transcultural practice as a sustainable measure in development.The workshop is led by Juliet Sakyi- Ansah. Exhibition A visual exhibition from our seminar leaders on LocallyTapping will communicate their experiences and processes of working on live projects in Ghana through people,materials,construction methods, and other elements essential for environmentally and socially responsive development. 5
  6. 6. London Metropolitan University “The Cass at London Metropolitan University is internationally recognised for its high quality teaching, excellent facilities and unique interdisciplinary opportunities. Learning through practice, playing with process and working with clients, students at The Cass gain real world experience in both individual and collaborative projects, engaging with professionals, communities and companies. There is a strong emphasis in our studios on socially engaged architecture, art and design applied to both local and global contexts, and many projects focus on London. Central House Central House is home to the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design (the CASS).“ - Ref: London Metropolitan Universitywww.londonmet.ac.uk Venue Address Room CE4-10, Central House 59-63 Whitechapel High St, London E1 7PF United Kingdom Venue The CASS THE CASS Central House Exterior Image source: www.londonmet.ac.uk Location Map Image source: www.google.co.uk 6
  7. 7. Opening What is Local About Foreign? Talk #1 Ethnography and theArchitecture of Situation Maria Panta Talk #2 Innovation through Translations, Niall O Cleirigh Exchange [& break] GuestTalk Transformative Change, Architect Elsie Owusu OBE Talk #3 Unlearning to Make Local, Giulia Fortunato Talk #4 Reinventing Materials, AnnaWebster Exchange Closing [followed by a networking session] Seminar 18:00 18:10 18:20 18:30 19:00 19:20 19:30 19:40 20:00 Architect Daniel K. Teye presents local building materials for an aqua safari resort tap:Exchange 4.0 - a collaborative symposium with ARC Ghana Image source: Onasis Gaisie, The Architects’ Project, Oct. 2014 Brandon Rogers presents Earth Bag architecture tap:Exchange 4.0 - a collaborative symposium with ARC Ghana Image source: Onasis Gaisie, The Architects’ Project, Oct. 2014 7
  8. 8. Introduction to Negotiating Local • Workshop brief, aims and objectives • Workshop participants Scenarios • Experienced Territories - identify common trends underlining previous individual projects within a locality that was foreign to the project team. • Mapping I - translate trends into tangible and applicable knowledge on interpretations of local in context-specific architecture • Projects - create future project brief as the premise for developing a tool for sustainable cross-cultural practice Tactics for Negotiations • Mapping II - what is local? About foreign? • Negotiate - apply outcomes from Mapping II to negotiate between local and foreign elements. • Design & Make - a test approach to sustainable cross-cultural practice Presentation and Exchange: • Accessible tools for sustainable transcultural development Negotiating Local 15:00 15:20 16:00 17:00 #tap workshop tap:Exchange 4.1 - hosted by Nka Foundation on their live site in Abetenim Ghana Image source: Nkabom House Project team, April 2015 8
  9. 9. Speaker Bio:Maria is currently undertaking her PhD research degree titled, ‘The role of sustainable building practices in copying with climate change’, funded by Canterbury School of Architecture. Her project explores the work of community- driven initiatives involved in small-scale adaptation projects in the Global South. She spent 5 weeks on the Earth Architecture workshop in the village of Abetenim, southern Ghana. The workshop culminated in a live community project, which enabled her to develop first-hand experience of using earth based building techniques, amongst others. She is currently involved with The Architects’ Project as the online editor.In 2011,she joined Reset Development on a two- year research based project titled, ‘Affordable Low-Carbon and Cyclone resilient Housing in South West Bangladesh’.The latter focused on developing a greater understanding on best practice approaches to training and education in the rural SW Bangladesh. Maria became an associate ofWomen’s Design Service in 2010 through her involvement with community-led design projects in London. Further, she is a member of the Glass-House Enablers Bank, a group committed to supporting the development of sustainable places shaped by local people.After completing her RIBA Part II degree at London South Bank University Maria practised for seven years in London. TalkTitle: Ethnography and the Architecture of Situations Speaker: Maria Panta - PhD Candidate, Canterbury School of Architecture, University for the Creative Arts Project Abstract The work described in this paper is part of an ongoing research project into the work of community-driven initiatives involved in small-scale climate change adaptation in the global South.The project looks at approaches to resilience and adaptation through the use of local materials, and how these can empower communities not only physically but also in other ways. This is illustrated through a construction project of a school canteen in the village of Abetenim, southern Ghana.Drawing on my fieldwork experience inAbetenim and my role as a community architect and participant in the Earth Architecture project through a non-profit organisation (NGO),the paper discusses how the use of ethnography,typically a method ofAnthropology,as part of architectural praxis facilitates the holistic understanding of the local context and informs the design process. The paper argues that the syncretism of ethnographic and participatory design methods enables solutions, which can contribute to longer-term sustainable adaptation in this context. Moreover,this research feeds from the discipline of anthropology and specifically its approach to methodology that is participant observation and participation, in order to rethink architecture from a broader cultural perspective.This allows the author to critique local situations and frame questions which directly inform the design praxis in this context. Finally, the research makes use of the praxis of collaboration as methodology in the implementation of such a project. The process of selecting building materials addresses two distinct layers of collaboration:one among the members of our group affiliated to the NGO and another between this group and two local institutions. Keywords: sustainable design; architectural cultural heritage; Ethnography; collaborations Ethnography as part of Architectural Praxis within a Community-Driven Project, Ghana #tap talk1 9
  10. 10. Speaker Bio: Niall is an architectural technologist from Dublin, Ireland. Niall’s interests involve vernacular architecture, bio-climatic and responsible design. He engages in how designers can learn from local culture, local architecture and regional materials to generate sustainable solutions in response to climate and context. For the past several years, Niall has been working internationally in architecture. In Ghana, on a collaborative design and build project engaging in participatory design and iterative building processes. In Japan, the work focused on researching and developing future townhouses and re-purposing traditional townhouses. In Ireland on low energy retrofit projects and currently in the UK with Architecture for Humanity on live community projects as well as a project technologist in commercial architectural practice. The School Canteen & Kitchen Project Abetenim, Ghana TalkTitle: Innovation through Translations Speaker: Niall O Cleirigh - Architectural Technologist, NocT Designspace Project Outline: Translation;generallyassociatedwithlanguage,formsthebridgebetweendesignandconstruction. Through observation, collaboration and flexibility we can create a balance between innovation and tradition. As designers we strive to innovate, push beyond the norm. In the process of translation, ideas are born, but without local engagement, projects can lose momentum and trust.A value and respect for pre-existing methods and skills can be challenging however the adoption of innovation may exist in this mutual building translation process. So, what is local about foreign? A new perspective, a solution which lies in the conventional, it is the translation of these solutions with respect to local context and culture which is key. #tap talk2 10
  11. 11. #tap guest talk Guest Speaker: Architect Elsie Owusu OBE Principle, Elsie Owusu Architects + Director ArchQuestra Speaker Bio: Elsie Owusu OBE is an award winning Ghanaian-British Architect, specialising in regeneration, art- into-architecture and transport design. She is a Partner at Feilden+Mawson LLP (F+M) and principal of her own practice Elsie Owusu Architects (EOA). Both practices have worked on new transport systems and pilots in Ghana and Nigeria. Rapid Transit Systems & Urban Strategies, Ghana and Nigeria TalkTitle: Transformative Change Projects: “I’ve worked on the Accra Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the pilot route of which was launched in 2012. I also worked on the pilot route for the Lagos BRT which has been a huge success, and as far as I’m concerned, has transformed the way people move around the city. These schemes develop quite slowly – mainly due to lack of donor funding. I’d like to see the revenues from the BRTs used to fund the projects, rather than waiting for donor support. It seems to me that there could be sufficient combined revenue from the infrastructure and the private sector to make this possible. But infrastructure is highly capital intensive! As society becomes wealthier, many aspects such as education, health and housing improve – but due to expanded private car use, public transport tends to get dramatically worse and of course it is key to how cities move and grow. This phenomenon has been observed in other cities, such as Bogota, Colombia and Curitiba, Brazil.Accra’s transport depends mostly, as technicians say, on 100% capacity, meaning that buses move when they are brim full! Passenger convenience is not a principal concern and that equation has to change to the benefit of the passenger.The BRT transport programme introduces segregated lanes so that buses can move at a regulated speed.Our aim is to provide affordable,comfortable,regular transport so people can get to their destinations with ease.” - Zeitgeist Africa, www.zeitgeistafrica.com [accessed: Nov. 2015] Lagos: Pilot route (3D), Bus Rapid Transit Image source: www.zeitgeistafrica.com [accessed: Nov. 2015] 11
  12. 12. Speaker Bio: I am a creative and enthusiast professional, with many years of experience in projects of many types and scales. During my career,I have developed my skills specifically towards the design and realization of private residential spaces: homes are our protective nests and as they epitomize the place where one can find him/herself fully at ease, so I have always believed they deserve a high degree of attention from architects. I have also worked and researched on the topic of regeneration of cities and urban environments, within this field my PhD thesis dealt with how to improve peripheral urban areas through design interventions on infrastructural voids. In the last two years I have collaborated as an architect with NGOs in Ghana and Somalia: research and design practices in these countries have made me faced a completely new reality from the one I was accustomed to in Europe and enriched a lot my professional and personal background. I am co-founder of At hand Program, both an association and an educational programme working in developing countries: the aim is to deliver low-cost buildings made with traditional techniques and local resources to NGOs and more in general to local people through on site cross cultural workshops open to university students. Medase House Abetenim, Ashanti Region Ghana TalkTitle: Unlearning to Make Local Speaker: Giulia Fortunato - Architect + PhD, co-Founder, At Hand Program Project Outline: The house design is very elementary: three independent volumes (activity room, bedrooms, and washroom) are gathered under the same roof.This idea affecting not only the form but the use of both the interior and the exterior space comes from the direct observation of the life in rural villages in Ghana: functions are scattered in the village, and people usually share outside spaces to cook, eat, play and stay together. The entire building is laid on a concrete platform, a space defined by the projection of the roof above, where a portico with teak columns for open air sojourning is also defined. Using the atakpame method, the house walls are entirely made of earth: the main innovation consisting on the fact that not only the walls lay on top of a concrete foundation, to visually and physically lift the building from the ground, but the corners are made with concrete blocks, in order to help the walls be well straight. The roof is made of wooden beams and metal sheets, it lays on a top concrete lentil and thanks to its double inclination lets natural light get into the activity room; perimeter walls are plastered and protected from rain water thanks to roof projection all around the building (1,5 meters). Interior furniture is in atakpame earth, including the beds, while windows are in wood; the bedrooms’ are traditional wooden windows, while the activity room and wash room have tailored made wooden windows.The house is made of local materials exclusively, it is 90% recyclable and is made with local building techniques and labour. It was completed in two months and costed less than 5000 USD. It has soon been incorporated in NKA buildings and it is used today to host volunteers coming to help NKA from all over the world. 12 #tap talk3
  13. 13. Nkabom House Abetenim, Ashanti Region Ghana TalkTitle: Reinventing Materials Speaker: AnnaWebster - RIBA Part 2 Candidate,London Met University Project Outline: In response to Nka Foundation’s Mud House Design Competition 2014, Nkabom House focusses on utilising local resources,labour and techniques whilst extending those capabilities into a modern design perspective. The project focusses on rethinking the vernacular and reinventing materials which are often discarded or overlooked.With the intent of moving away from the primitive image of building with mud, the project uses rammed earth to achieve a contemporary aesthetic derived from traditional practice. In addition to earth, pure water sachets were used in the construction, and transformed into tangible objects of beauty and value.These sachets cause vast environmental and sanitation issues in Ghana. Littering the streets, they block drains causing a spread of waterborne diseases and a habitat for mosquitoes.With the lack of organised waste collection and removal in Ghana,recycling is not common practice. Innovation in material reuse could make a great impact in addressing the environmental damage wreaked by the sachet water industry. As part of Nka Foundation’s ongoing development of theArtsVillage inAbetenim,the building hopes to inform future projects who can learn from,build upon,change and improve the systems it employs. Embedded within the physical makeup of the house are a background of ideas,exploration,trial and error which we hope will serve to guide future projects in the village.The workshop has provided a great deal of education to international visitors and local workers alike: the village is now equipped with a local team of rammed earth experts who have the capacity to continue to utilise and improve upon this system of building.The project facilitates development through capacity building and an exchange of cross cultural knowledge in the spirit of collaborative building. 13 #tap talk4
  14. 14. Contributions byVarious Coordinated with Antonia Adjei-Mensah Master of Architecture Student, at University for the Creative Arts Locally Tapping #tap exhibition 14

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