connecting back to the video of the Chinese architect who paid attention to the past of that particular area in China when he built the museum, I (Thomai) asked the class to reflect on what makes the place you come from (each individually) special and why. What part of the past would you be interested in preserving through your own contemporary works? Or which part of the past have you seen being nicely integrated into some pieces of contemporary architecture already built in your place of origin?
What part of the past would you be interested in preserving through your own contemporary works?
Reflecting on the Rwandan convention centre in Kigali, I decided to focus on their way of choosing which way they would preserve historical context through architecture. The iconic dome that is often lit up with the colours of the nation’s flag remain a very visual and quite literally a representation of the design patterns of the ancestors. What truly unifies the architecture in Rwanda from other places is it’s ability to preserve itself over centuries. In terms of design and concept one may argue that there hasn’t been much growth besides the methods of construction and perhaps even the fact that the kind of people involved in the projects aren’t all natives.
Through these analytical observation I choose to pursue preservation of circumvention towards preconceived notions. From my observations I believe that to foresee new possibilities and advance beyond visual representation to achieve cultural preservation, the notions of the culture itself have to be unpacked. In order to do so I choose to explore how Rwandan ancestors came up with their first iterative designs and what truly sustained such patterns over the centuries. Despite the repetitiveness of such designs the concepts hidden behind the theme of the dome remain factual, the hemispherical shape of the structure is cheaper to build, it’s self-supporting, it reacts well against the natural element of wind and rain but most importantly it stimulates interaction within the community exploring it. By studying these communities and the value they absorb by such architecture maybe visual focus may start to transfer to material and therefore stimulate or initiate and new form of Rwandan architecture. As long as the sense of identity is at the core of the design process the impact should remain the same.