Kibera Hamlets School

Kenya is a place where long entrenched cultural traditions interact with the fervor of urban modernization. Both in the heart of Nairobi, and at the peripheries, the line is contentious, sharply delineating a country into the past and future.

In moments, the global repertoire of modern construction techniques becomes bound in a Kenyan vernacular, where an old approach is expressed with contemporary parts. Louisiana Hamlet Pavilion formulates a reciprocity where the local, is explored via the techniques of the global, of the universal standard. Born from the traditions of early society architecture and informed by the digital logic of contemporary architectural practice, the project describes a mode of interaction, a social algorithm through which a set of simple rules informs the generation of architectural space across a broad range of contexts, crafts, and skill sets.

Louisiana Hamlet Pavilion is an act of architectural misconstruction, formulated out of universally available scaffolding components organized into sets of modular assemblies defined by modifiable parameters. A strategy of on site constrained improvisation allows a crowd-sourced model to productively amplify errors and idiosyncrasies as drivers of aesthetic variation. Reconfigurable connections and identical elements extend the afterlife of the project enabling an adaptive response to the wide range of cultural and the economical constraints of both of its sites: in Kibera, Nairobi and the Lousiana Museum in Denmark. At work is a reformulation of existing ideas inherent in the global construction industry, exploiting scaffoldings periodic life-cycle towards an architecture of reuse and variation.

Both a pavilion in a museum setting as well as a Hamlet in Kibera, Louisiana Hamlet school asserts contemporary architecture’s imperative for adaptability, expressed as dual manifestations of a common methodology. In Denmark, the project is a form of prototypical architecture, challenging  the tectonic and formal possibilities of conventional construction assemblies. In Kenya, it is a school, equipped to engage severe economic and logistical constraints in the production of an engaging educational environment. The result is an atmosphere,enriched in its color and material texture as well as an attitude for new global adaptable c ollaborations.

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Kibera Hamlets School
Kibera Hamlets is a community-based organization (CBO) founded in 2004 by youth from Kibera. Currently, they serve more than 150 underprivileged adolescents and children from high poverty and high violence backgrounds, 65% of whom are orphans and 10% of whom are HIV positive.

They initially started with a football team as their main activity, participating in tournaments and coaching, as a way to educate and reduce idleness as  well as risky behavior among the youth in Kibera. Presently, Kibera Hamlets runs several different programs, including a school (nursery, primary and secondary level), which is supported by a scholarship program funded through contributions & donations.

Programs at Kibera Hamlets:
– Access to Education
– HIV/AIDS Support and Counseling
– Girl’s Empowerment
– Environmental Conservation
– Drama/Acrobatics Group
– Sports Program
– Nursery and Primary school
– Peace-building and Violence Prevention
– Community Library

Access to Education – Through contributions and donations, Kibera Hamlets administers a scholarship program which covers school fees and college tuition for young people from Kibera who cannot afford the cost of an education.

Nursery and Primary school – This project aims to nurture and promote the healthy well-being of orphaned children in Kibera through a daytime nursery and primary school and feeding program. Financed by the sale of crafts made by local women, and built and run by members of Kibera Hamlets, the activities are aimed at improving children’s access to education.

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