Since oral traditions are at the heart of Maasai culture, this thoughtful design for a cultural centre for the Maasai Mara tribe of Kenya places the open-air storytelling hub at the core of a butterfly-shaped plan. The encircling wings accommodate curatorial activities, crafts studios and conferences; the welcoming nature of the entire design is underlined by the inclusion of a community water tap. With a material palette of interlocking stabilized soil blocks and bamboo (a fast-growing grass that could be harvested on site to provide economic benefits to the community), the architecture reinterprets the African vernacular. The project also upholds local building custom by employing women, traditionally the builders in Maasai society, in the construction of the centre. In this way, the people play a central role in the creation of their own gathering space.
Project: Netii Apa: Maasai Mara Cultural Center Location: Maasai Mara, Kenya School: Ryerson University, Canada Team:Alykhan Neky