In August of this year, SCI-Arc hosted a study and design workshop with students attending Abaarso Tech University at Somaliland. Largely centered on affordable housing in the city of Hargeisa, on the Horn of Africa, study was conducted by students and coordinated by faculty from each of four participating universities--SCI-Arc, Abaarso Tech University, The Royal Danish Academy of Arts (KADK), School of Architecture, Design, and Conservation, and Copenhagen University--together with the aim of demonstrating how changes in preparation practice, from single-family detached housing to multifamily apartment buildings could promote sustainable urban development for each its citizens.
The workshop was coordinated by SCI-Arc Research Associate Masha Hupalo, together with alum Emil Frederik Seehusen (Design Theory and Pedagogy'19), Anders Michelsen (Copenhagen University), and Rashid Ali (Abaarso Tech University), in Addition to SCI-Arc students Lance Arevalo (B.Arch'20) and Malvin Wibowo (B.Arch'20).
The research project presented at the workshop explored the debut of a new building typology in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. Together with Hargeisa having doubled in size since 2002--and the majority of that growth occurring in high-income single-family residential neighborhoods--this in conjunction with soaring land speculation has resulted in rampant expansion, forcing lower-income households to the periphery of town. As residents have limited accessibility to crucial resources such as schools, hospitals, shops, and offices without reliable transportation, this development promotes inequality and impedes social mobility.
Hupalo clarifies the workshop emphasized a transition from single family homes to multifamily houses, changing the typology of "what a fantastic house is."
"We will need to modify the creativity of dwelling," she continues. "The same thing is happening in Los Angeles, Somaliland, and Copenhagen, increasing the question: 'what's the brand new household?' And what would be the new methods of living with a devotion to privacy, family ideology--which all had to be contested, and that's what we wanted to explore with the students."
The project established a digital platform between academic institutions and stakeholders from the Global South and North, bringing research on housing from three continents and three distinct urban conditions in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and the Horn of Africa. The workshop staged three important events, eased by engaging faculty and teaching assistants, which allowed all participants to develop their own relationships with pupils, moving from a one-sided pedagogical model. SCI-Arc undergraduate students Arevalo and Wibowo were hired to create a collection of tutorials, which were posted online and released every second day.
Students participating in the workshop were also instructed how to create photogrammetry models of the homes using their phones and Rhino, in addition to recording oral histories by conducting interviews with their parents and siblings, all united to little, immersive virtual reality environments they can input visually and sonically.
Having concluded the powerful first a string of three planned workshops, Hupalo states that there are plans for more in January and June 2021. "Our instructors, students, and school all enjoyed the experience, and so were very excited to engage with one another. The next two will be a bit more research heavy, with pupils working in clusters within Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and Somaliland--and since they each have their own challenges with modes of living, this creates a rather interesting and exciting exchange of ideas."
See the SCI-Arc Research site to learn more https://www.abaarsotechuniversity.org/