Rwanda traditional architecture on display in Venice

Rwanda is for the first time participating in the International Architecture Exhibition running from August 29 to November 21, in the Italian city of Venice. The event, in which 53 countries have pavilions, is aimed at drawing attention to the use of traditional techniques and materials in design and architecture.

Rwanda is for the first time participating in the International Architecture Exhibition running from August 29 to November 21, in the Italian city of Venice.

The event, in which 53 countries have pavilions, is aimed at drawing attention to the use of traditional techniques and materials in design and architecture.
Participants include architects, engineers and artists from around the world.

The event’s Director, Kazuyo Sejima, said in a statement that this year’s event should be a reflection on architecture, adding that the idea is to help people relate to architecture, to help architecture relate to people, and to help people relate to themselves.

“The twenty-first century has just started. Many radical changes are taking place. In such a rapid-changing context, can architecture clarify new values and a new lifestyle for the present?” posed Sejima.

“Hopefully, this show will be a chance to experience the manifold possibilities of architecture, as well as to account for its plurality of approaches, each one of them being a different way of living.”

Rwanda’s exhibitions show how traditional weaving techniques and natural fibres can be used to create necklaces or shoes, how ash and cow dung can decorate modern walls and how alternatives to paper can be used in making handmade books.

“Today, before we throw away vegetable fibres we have to think again,” Josephine Malonza, the acting Dean in the Faculty of Architecture at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) told a seminar on Saturday, at the Rwanda’s pavilion.

Prominent Burkina Faso architect Francis Kere on Saturday noted that Africans have alternatives to air-conditioning, and mud is a material that is perfectly adapted to the African situation.

Apart from Rwanda, other first-time national participations include Albania, Kingdom of Bahrain, Iran, Malaysia and Morocco.

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