Joanna Nsenga is a young architect who studied on the west coast in the United States before returning back to her home country, Rwanda, to put her architectural skills to use to improve the lives of local communities. Empower Hubs—now called Kinvest Commons—was one of the first projects she worked on after joining Journeyman International, a humanitarian architecture nonprofit, which started in the United States but has a firm presence in Rwanda.
Empower Hub in Nyenyeri after redevelopment
“More than 90 per cent of the population of Rwanda is rural who are in need of economic opportunities within and around their villages,” Nsenga explained the premise of the project, which was to improve, rebuild and equip rural marketplaces with amenities and infrastructure.
The project, which started as a partnership between Kinvest Impact Foundation and Journeyman International, has now impacted more than 1,500 families across three different locations.
Empower Hub in Gatebe
Nsenga attributes the success of the programme to the fact that it focused on upgrading and supporting existing spaces connected—socially or economically—to the local community. “From the beginning, we were sure that we didn’t want to buy land and build something new. We looked for places that could be given a new lease of life. And I had to design a prototype, which could be adapted to not just respond to the existing conditions, but to also meet the needs of the community.”
As an extension of her immersive involvement with the Rebuilding Pavilion at the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress of Architects, Copenhagen (see report in Happenings section), Bhawna Jaimini spoke to three architects from different parts of the world to present practical examples in an attempt to map a discourse on adaptive reuse to advocate rebuilding efforts in the face of a planet in crisis. It is 24 degrees Celsius on an autumn day in London, where I am writing this, an unprecedented record for the United Kingdom where heatwave conditions have become exceedingly common in the last few […]
RE-ADAPTING PRIVATE PROPERTIES FOR PUBLIC USE Studio 877 is situated in the old cantonment quarters of the city of Pune in western India. It is home to an architectural practice—Local Ground—and the Loft, a cultural space, both started by architect Khushru Irani. The 100-year-old building, which was in a dilapidated state, was given a new lease of life through painstaking restoration work. “The two-storey building was bought by my grandfather and served as residence for our large family for many years. We also had tenants there, but the roof of the first floor was in a crumbling state and it […]
Transformation of a former factory into affordable quality housing by Arcgency
REUSING OLD INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PRESENT CHALLENGES Ryslinge is a small town with a population of less than 2,000 people in Central Denmark. It is governed by the Faaborg Midtfyn municipality, which hired Copenhagen-based architecture firm Arcgency to convert an old factory into affordable housing. Camilla Lemb Nielsen, an architect who works with Arcgency, joined in from her office in Copenhagen to speak about the project named Faber Fabrikker. “Rural Denmark has a very rich architectural heritage in the form of old factories and stations, which are no longer in use. Rethinking modern usage for these buildings has a two-fold advantage. […]