ASANTE ZANZIBAR: Interplay of Cultures Studio 2019, Master's level course in Architecture

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | C1 Kustannettu tieteellinen erillisteos
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The Interplay of Cultures Studio has been part of the curriculum at Aalto University’s Department of Architecture since 1993. The focus of the course is on community empowerment through participation, sustainable design solutions and culturally knowledgeable architecture. The course includes studies on local building traditions and materials, as well as social, economic and climatic characteristics of the local culture. In 2019, the Interplay of Cultures Studio course returned with five Aalto students for three weeks to Zanzibar, to learn about the features of a foreign culture, and to work with disadvantaged local communities, NGO’s and city authorities, tackling real life cases in the context of the Unguja Island. The design tasks were outlined in close collaboration with the City Planning Office of Zanzibar, scales varying from areal planning to building design. The publication displays several methods of the empathic design approaches used by the students and their studio work resulting in four architectural design projects. The students of this course describe themselves as the "learners" in this intercultural study experience. The “learning from the Global South” was for them an unbelievably important part, complementing their usual ways of gaining knowledge and education. As becoming architects, they want to react to their environment in all aspects. There are possibilities of using architectural principles and typologies universally, but this publication promotes the idea of an essential adaptation to a context. The student’s work resulted in a need of adapting to, for instance, social, political, cultural, technical, or environmental demands of a certain local context, which eventually becomes promising and beneficial for the approval of the design proposals by the local partners and communities.
Interplay of Cultures, Zanzibar, Global Sustainability, Empathic Design, Africa, Learning from the Global South
Other note
Schütze, Korbinian. 2020. ASANTE ZANZIBAR: Interplay of Cultures Studio 2019, Master's level course in Architecture. 99. ISSN 1799-4861 (electronic). ISSN 1799-4853 (printed). ISBN 978-952-60-3855-1 (electronic). ISBN 978-952-60-3854-4 (printed).