The African Design Center

ORGANIZATION NAME: Christian Benimana and the MASS Design Group

SUMMARY: The ADC will be an apprenticeship-based institute that will invest in the development of Africa’s most creative minds, operate as a hub for innovation and collaboration, and lead African growth through high-impact and human-centered design. The ADC, a new and necessary complement to existing African architecture and design schools, will work with MASS to further students’ education through an intensive two-year fellowship. After completing a 3-month boot camp of training, Fellows will gain hands-on experience through the four phases of MASS’s design process: Immersion, Design, Construction, and Research.

PROBLEM SPACE: “In the next two decades, Africa will experience a population boom of likely over one billion people. Most of this growth will occur in urban centers where the primary infrastructure to support this population does not exist. The capacity to create this infrastructure is limited in two key ways.

First, the existing model of delivery and its corresponding market rates for primary infrastructure reveals a fundamental disconnect between supply and demand. If African nations were to build the 150,000 primary schools needed by 2030, the total cost would be $60 Billion, an unattainable figure. This market challenge requires a new approach to design, material innovation and construction processes in order to meet this demand.

Second, there is a dearth of African architects to design the many units of housing, clinics, and schools required by this growing population. In all of East Africa , only 1,200 registered architects serve a population of 160 million. Architectural education is growing in Africa, but not at an adequate pace nor at the level of quality necessary to match global standards. Scaling architectural and impact-based design education will be critical if Africa is to build a physically, economically, and socially sustainable future for itself.”

SOLUTION: The African Design Centre will transform the African built environment through a comprehensive, impact-based program that trains the next generation of African designers, builds much needed primary infrastructure, and invests to scale innovative research.

CONTACT: [email protected]