Saturday March 24th, 2012
8.30 am - 5.00 pm
Harvard Law School Wasserstein Hall
1585 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 01238
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The Act of Buiding

Regional Identity and Social Practices

'Architecture is a process of giving form and pattern to the social life of the community. Architecture is not an individual act performed and charged by an artist-architect and charged with his emotions. Building is a collective action.'... The result of such practices are responsive buildings that exude an aesthetic particular to the place in which the buildings are made. In regards to each of the African regions (North, South, Central/West and East), how are social practices shaping the regional African architectural identity?


Bureau E.A.S.T. (Ecological Architecture and Systems of Tomorrow)

Bureau E.A.S.T. ('Ecological Architecture and Systems of Tomorrow') is a firm headed by Moroccan architect Aziza Chaouni and American urban planner Takako Tajima with offices in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Fez, Morocco. The firmís focus is to sustainably integrate design into the environment. Their Fez river rehabilitation project won the 2008 Holcim Gold Award in Sustainable Construction and the 2009 EDRA best places award.

Aziza Chaouni holds a Master of Architecture with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Civil Engineering from Columbia University.Aziza is an assistant professor at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.Her personal research is focused both on developing world design issues and on methodologies to integrate architecture and landscape. Chaouni is also the director of the Designing Ecological Tourism lab at Daniels. She was awarded the 2007 Progressive Architecture award for her research project, ìHybrid Urban Suturesî and a 2012 Progressive Architecture Award citation and a 2012 ASCA Collaboration Award for the Ain Nsissa Ecotourism Project.

Takako Tajima is a design practitioner in Los Angeles. She holds a Master in Landscape Architecture and a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. Takakoís professional experience ranges in type, scope, and scale and includes design reviews of major projects for the City of Santa Monica, City of Pasadena, and the City of Santa Ana. She was the lead on project coordination and concept development for the urban design component of the West Hollywood General Plan Update and the Ocean Park Boulevard Complete Street Project in Santa Monica. Her work on a proposal for an ecotourism and agritourism resort on Chongming Island, just north of Shanghai, China was awarded a 2008 ASLA Professional Honor Award.

Peter Rich, principal architect at Peter Rich Architects in Johannesburg, South Africa and Professor of Architecture at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg.

Peter Rich is a principal architect at Peter Rich Architects in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Professor of Architecture at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. In 2011, he held the chair of the John Williams Fellowship at University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture. Arkansas students under his mentorship collaborated with students from the Department of Architecture at the Kigali Institute of Technology in Rwanda, in researching and designing appropriate sustainable urban housing for Rwandans.

As an activist during the apartheid era, Rich documented indigenous settlements of the black population such as the Ndebele people, who faced displacement from the government. Rich studied South African vernacular architecture and informal housing, which prepared him to design social housing projects and community based Cultural tourism projects, after the fall of the apartheid regime in 1994 for the democratically elected government of Nelson Mandela.

Rich has since developed a contemporary architectural vocabulary built upon sustained research of local context and close collaboration with communities. For the Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre (awarded the "Building of the Year" at the World Architecture Festival in 2009), completed with engineers John Ochsendorf of MIT and Michael Ramage, local craftsmen learned to build with ancient clay-tile vaulting techniques. Rich together with Michael Ramage and Tim Hall has recently established Light Earth Design, which is implementing projects in Central, East and North Africa. The recent Alexandra Heritage Center is a community space and center to record oral histories of residents in the historic township of Alexandra, where Mandela formulated his political resistance. In 2010, Rich was awarded the South African Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the Instituteís highest honor for his achievements in architecture.


Michael Hooper, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Michael Hooper is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Harvard University. His research interests focus on the politics of land use and urbanization, participatory planning and governance, and civil society mobilization. He joined Harvard after completed his Ph.D. at Stanford University, where he researched the dynamics of slum dweller mobilization around urban evictions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Hooper started his Ph.D. after working for five years with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in East Africa and New York. During three years spent at UN Headquarters, he led the research program of a major partnership on environment and poverty issues in the developing world. Prior to his time in New York, he worked with UNDP in Nairobi, spending a year on secondment to the Kenya Ministry of Planning and National Development. He remains affiliated with UNDP, serving as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the UNs Equator Prize. He also worked in London with a regulatory agency of the U.K. government and with a management research project jointly led by McKinsey and Company and the London School of Economics.

Hooper began university at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei on a Pacific Rim Scholarship, and then attended McGill University in Montreal, where he earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biology. He returned to graduate school following his time in Kenya, earning the M.C.P. in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT, where his masterís thesis examined the political economy of urban water provision in Durban, South Africa. He received his Ph.D. from the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford, where he was concurrently a graduate student in the Department of Political Science, a Fellow in the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation and a Research Fellow in international development at Oxford University. Professionally, he is a chartered town planner in the United Kingdom and a certified planner in the United States and Canada.

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