Good Cause: Learning from Kigali

Guillaume is a Design Consultant and co-founder of the Think-Tank George Pericles.  He started with Rwandan architecture students a research-project: Learning from Kigali. It’s interesting and they’re currently looking for some funding help so I wanted to bring some attention to it.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are doing in Rwanda.

I am a French designer and architect. I’ve been in Rwanda for the past 2 years. In Rwanda, I am a design consultant. I’ve co-founded George Pericles, an award-winning design think-tank focusing focusing on cultural design and home grown solutions. We are experimenting our ideas on various projects from urban design to furniture design.

I also teach architecture studio and architectural theory at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

What is ‘Learning from Kigali’?

With  some architecture students from KIST, we wanted to add our voice to the debate on the urbanization of Kigali. Learning from Kigali will be a documentary about the urbanization process at the edge of the city.

The urban documentary will be made of plans, maps, pictures , videos, interviews and text. We will investigate the impact of informal and formal development in Kagugu, a distinctive neighbourhood at the fringe of Kigali. Eight years ago it was a overgrown forest, today, Kagugu is a mix of big mansions, popular neighbourhood and suburban development. It’s easy to see what an interesting sample Kagugu is!

Kagugu is the result of both planned and informal development. Kagugu is a blend of many different components : Huge mansions, informal settlements, planned communities for the middle class, western-style supermarket, local shops and informal vendors. We want to understand how all those components interact and work together and create a community.

Learning from Kigali will be the witness of the changes which are happening right now in Kigali. At the end of the research, mid-June, we will held an exhibition in Kigali and print a publication.

Who is on the team?

The team is made of  Rwandan architecture students, they will be the 1st Rwandan architects trained in the country ! So far Seventeen of them are on the team, they are 4th and 3rd year students. Then two young architects from France will join us.

What’s the purpose of the project?

The main purpose of Learning from Kigali is to have a fresh look at urbanization processes in Rwanda and in Africa, but also to put on the map the 1st generation of Rwandan architects! The project will show their expertise and their point of view on the world that surround them.

This research will help decision-makers, architects and planners to understand Kigali and the challenges (social, environmental, economic) it is facing. Learning from Kigali will be a first step for home-grown solutions to be designed in order to solve the problems the city is facing.

How can people get involved in the project?

To make this project reality, we need everybody’s help. We want people and organizations to get involved ! The changes ,Kigali is facing, are impacting everybody.

We started a fundraiser to fund the project. The fundraiser is on Kisskissbankbank (the European Kickstarter). We offer individual and corporate rewards to people that will back the project. If you don’t have a visa card, we accept cash donation, just contact me at guillaume@georgepericles.com. We will also organize some fundraising events during the campaign time.

Website: http://www.learningfromkigali.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/learningfromkigali

About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.