Designing a More Equitable Africa

Africa’s rapid population growth requires new thinking about how to support the infastructure development that will be needed in light of the projected surge. The World Bank estimates that by 2050, 1.2 billion people will be living in urban areas throughout Africa. According to MASS Design Group, there will be a need for 85,000 clinics, 310,000 schools, and 700 million housing units in the coming years. That means three-quarters of the buildings Africa needs have not yet been built.

This is a challenge that MASS Design Group hopes to solve through the African Design Center Fellowship, its first-ever educational initiative. With its main office in Kigali, Rwanda, the Center is already being called “The Bauhaus of Africa,” and it aims to train the next generation of African architects.

How is the African Design Center poised to train the next generation of African architects? Christian Benimana, MASS Program Director for Rwanda, has emphasized that the Fellowship curriculum will emphasize fieldwork, community responsiveness, and low-fab materials. It will break down into three tracks: design, research, and policy. Over time, he says, infrastructural development will reduce the need for emergency interventions:

If you address housing you might need less clinics. If you invest in schools you may be able to achieve appropriate housing.

MASS Design Group was already using SlideRoom to accept and review internship applications for their Boston office, and they chose to run applications for the African Design Center Fellowship through SlideRoom as well. The Fellowship application opportunity, which just closed, has received portfolios from all over Africa and around the world. SlideRoom enables MASS Design Group’s jury to review those applications seamlessly and make quantitative and qualitative admissions decisions.

The ADC Fellowship will launch in September with 10-12 fellows, and they are poised to grow rapidly in the coming years. Soon, the Center hopes to see branches all over the Continent. As they develop and expand, SlideRoom will enable the ADC to find their best applicants to build the infastructure that will serve as the foundation for the lives of future generations of African citizens.

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