The Boston-based nonprofit design firm MASS Design Group hopes to see the number of professional designers in Africa grow. To that end, the firm has unveiled a plan for an architecture and design school in Rwanda called the African Design Center. https://vimeo.com/139968413 Founded in 2010, MASS already has experience in developing areas around the world, including building a number of schools, medical clinics, and houses in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti. Its latest project, the African Design Center, will also lie in the sub-Saharan area of Kigali, Rwanda, where the firm already has an office. Currently, the firm is raising money for the project with the aim of opening next year. The school will also teach outside of the design discipline with classes available for networking and business development. If a success, MASS will emulate the project in other areas, implementing more schools in the region and hopefully the continent. According to its website, MASS views sub-Saharan Africa as an area that is set for "unprecedented urban growth," and such investment will help develop the economy of the area. More importantly, the project provides "critical new infrastructure such as housing, schools, and clinics." MASS' Africa office also realized that the continent's growth requires creative services to design future hospitals, schools, and housing. Africa contributes less than one percent to the global creative economy, and it's hoped that the school will nurture the young designers who will form the new sub-Saharan Africa. MASS described the project as the "Bauhaus of Africa." MASS isn't the only firm delving into the fertile land of Rwanda. Recently Norman Foster announced a proposal for a drone station to supply emergency medical equipment and act as a form of trade route in the area.
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Power Stations, Polish Church, West Side SRO Make Preservation Chicago’s “Most Threatened” Buildings List
Preservation Chicago released its annual “Most Threatened” historic buildings list, which includes two early 20th-century power stations that were part of the city's now-defunct coal plant corridor on the southwest side. The Fisk and Crawford power stations date from 1903 and 1926, when steam engine turbines as large as the ones in use in Chicago were a rare feat of engineering. The Madison/Wabash “El” stop, a lumbering box of metal housing a busy downtown transit stop, could indeed use some attention. Nearby Loop gems like the Carson Pirie Scott building down the street have received as much. Here’s the full list, also available on the preservation group’s website:
On a recent sunny day in Silver Lake the Materials & Applications gallery got folks together to eat cake. In honor of the group’s 10th anniversary M&A hosted an architectural bake-off called “Elevate Your Cake,” with groovy deliciousness by an impressive group of designers. They included Predock Frane; Chu + Gooding; Escher GuneWardena Architecture; Gensler; Deegan Day; Deutsch; Patterns; Noah Riley Design; Warren Techentin; Barbara Bestor; MASS; Osborn; Modal Design; Taalman Koch; and Andy Goldman. That’s right, this was no amateur night. These were serious architectural cakes. Chu + Gooding’s cake, “Inopportune Totem,” looked like a porcupine had mated with a death-by-chocolate. Warren Techentin’s entry, “cubisphere,” was made up of Japanese Mochi and chocolate cake balls. It looked like a cube made of colorful (but edible) golf and ping pong balls stacked on each other. After several of the cakes were raffled off everybody got down to business: eating the rest.