MASS Design Group – Kigali

In this week’s episode we speak to Theophile Uwayezu, architect and associate at MASS Design Group in Kigali, Rwanda.

This week’s episode was recorded in Kigali as part of a series of episodes we’re bring you from East Africa, exploring identity and architecture. Identity is the theme of this year’s LFA.

MASS Design Group was established in Massachusetts in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organisation.

Theophile Uwayezu

In the words of the practices “Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts.”  MASS say that their “mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity.”

MASS Design Group began in 2008 as an idea for a different way of practice by a group of students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The practice’s first project in Rwanda was to design and build the Butaro District Hospital in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health and the NGO Partners In Health.

The practice went on to open an office in Kigali where it’s now one of the largest firms in the country.

Theophile studied architecture at the University of Rwanda – the country’s only architecture school – where some of MASS Design Group’s partners still teach.

I joined Theophile in the firms office in the Kigali Heights Development, close to the Kigali Convention Centre, where I started by asking about the founding of MASS in Kigali.

Music from this episode was from Peter Logono and Raw Music International: Kisumu Mixtape via the Free Music Archive, released under a creative commons licence.