Memo culture : Green Architecture
Main points of the the high level debate of the third session of the Cercle Franco-Tanzanien, held the 24th of February 2016.
The panelists were : Aline d’Amman, interior designer and architect, Anoek de Smet, architect and urbanist working in Tanzania since 2009 and Alphonce Kyessi, researcher and designer, co-founder and director of ANA magazine. It was moderated by Anitah Hakika, architect and writer, co-founder of ANA magazine.
What is ‘green architecture’ ?
Green architecture is a responsible architecture that minimises the footprint of technology in the world and that calls upon a reduced quantity of resources. It has a minimal impact on nature. It has to be sustainable not only ecologically but also in a social context. We can talk here about the example of the Kariakoo building in Dar es Salaam.
Taking context and local resources into consideration
It is also a question of equilibrium between the environment and the building. It appeals to one’s common sense and to the conscience of the construction context and of the resources that are available in one specific geographical location. A ‘green’ building in one area of the world will not automatically be one in a completely different environment.
We can of course import ideas from elsewhere but they need to be adapted to their destination. It is important to be proud of your culture but you shouldn’t be afraid to reinterpret it. Creation processes should be fun.
Green architecture is not only for architects, it should mobilise all society
It is the responsibility of the architect to promote a greener architecture, but more globally it should be a common effort: from the citizens and clients that create the demand to the builders that have to use the materials as well as the local authorities.
Green architecture is not reserved to the richest
It is not about using high technology or constructing futuristic looking extremely modern high rises. As an example, on the site of Kilwan, you can find inexpensive traditional constructions that are highly efficient. To reduce the costs, the context of the construction needs to be taken into account.
Innovation and experimentation should not scary concepts. There are a lot of very simple things that we can do daily with limited means.
The promotion of green architecture should happen through the renovation of old buildings and the rehabilitation of dilapidated urban zones.
Can green architecture help control the growth of a city?
Dar Es Salaam is going to become one of Africa’s biggest city. In such a context, precise rules coming from the government can prevent nonsensical constructions. The local authorities have a role to play as they are the ones that detain the knowledge of the local environment and in addition they are mandated to establish the cohabitation rules. But, do local authorities have adequate human resources? It seems imperative that qualified human resources join politicians. Nowadays, the situation in the country illustrates a facility to go around construction rules or even a pure lack of rules.
To go further: do we need to develop a sustainable society?
Sustainable architecture should not be an isolated effort but inscribe itself in a global perspective that integrates all the aspects of life in society (transport as well) in order to create a sustainable society.