Cover Image for Unmaking Capital: Alternative Practices in the Global South

Unmaking Capital: Alternative Practices in the Global South

Past Event
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About Event

This session aims to reveal the experiential and knowledge gaps between the design disciplines in the global North and South, and to suggest that “peripheral” practices in Africa, Asia, and South America provide the North a model for a post-capitalist future.

This panel discussion will gather practitioners and scholars from the global South engaged in non-capitalistic – that is to say, non-industrial, localized, and convivial – thought, design, and construction. The session aims to reveal the experiential and knowledge gaps between the design disciplines in the global North and South, and to suggest that “peripheral” practices in Africa, Asia, and South America provide the North a model for a post-capitalist future. 

The organizers will first give a brief introduction to the panel discussion. This will be followed by short video testimonies by a group of invited scholars and practitioners. This format is chosen to allow the guests the time and space to curate their own response to the session’s prompts and the opportunity to situate their work in the lived, concrete context of their specific locales. After the video viewing, the organizers and panel members will discuss the issues with the audience. Video contributors will include: Peter Mabeo and Beullah Serema (designers, Botswana); Marie Rose Ukwizabigiwa (civil engineer, Rwanda); Narayan Acharya (builder, Nepal); Claudia Muciño (architect & educator, Mexico); Nickson Otieno (architect, Kenya); and Norihisa Kawashima (architect, Japan). 

We will start with materials, and expand the conversation to the economic and cultural forces manifested in them. Materials as ubiquitous economic and aesthetic objects will allow the contributors to highlight the issues most pertinent to their activities, including ecological resilience, cost accessibility, and aesthetics. 

This discussion will be facilitated by Yutaka Sho of GA Collaborative and Tyler Survant of Building Bureau.

Panelist Bios:

Claudia Berenice Muciño García - Director, Tecnológico de Monterrey Academic Architecture Program, Campus Puebla

Claudia is an architect and Director of the Academic Architecture Program at Mexico’s Tec de Monterrey Puebla campus. Prior to her directorship, she worked at the Urban Development Office of Celaya and taught energy efficiency and bioclimatic architecture courses at the Tecnológico de Monterrey campus Qro. Claudia has a Masters in Advanced Sustainable Design from the University of Edinburgh, specializing in Latin American Cities and Sustainable Development. She holds certifications in permaculture and sustainable cities and is a Fellow of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Local Pathways program.

Narayan Acharya - Director, Sustainable Future Nepal

Narayan is a Kathmandu-based rammed earth builder and Director of the green construction company Sustainable Future Nepal. In order to minimize the carbon footprint of Nepal’s construction industry, increase energy efficiency, and enhance indoor comfort, Sustainable Future developed a reinforced and stabilized rammed earth construction technique using locally sourced and affordable materials. This solution enables societies to build comfortable, earthquake-resistant buildings while reducing carbon emissions. Rammed earth construction also provides thermal mass which passively modulates indoor temperatures without the need for mechanical heating and cooling.

Nickson Otieno - Architect, Niko Green, Kenya

Nickson is an Eisenhower Fellow, registered architect, and sustainability expert committed to enabling the transition to a climate-smart, circular and green economy through design, research, training and technology. His company, Niko Green, specializes in Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), green building, climate change, circular economy, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), renewable energy and energy efficiency. Nickson previously served as co-founder and Environmental Design Director at Trine Architects Ltd; the Director, Green Africa Standards and Certification at the Green Africa Foundation; the President of the Executive Boards of World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD); and the Young Engineers Foundation for Sustainable Empowerment.

Norihisa Kawashima - Architect, Principal & Founder, Nori Architects, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Meiji University

Norihisa Kawashima, principal of Nori Architects, is committed to designing and practicing architecture with nature. Nature here refers to the climate, including sunlight and natural winds, materials such as soil and wood, the earth, plants, insects, birds, animals, microorganisms, and all other forms of life. Kawashima believes that we live on the earth and in relation to various things. We pursue environmental design that allows us to reevaluate our values and behavior without losing this sense, even in densely populated cities such as Tokyo.

Kawashima graduated from the University of Tokyo and completed his master’s degree at the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of the University of Tokyo in 2016. After working at Nikken Sekkei, Kawashima is currently an associate professor at Meiji University and the director of Nori Architects, founded in 2017.

Peter Mabeo - Designer & Furniture Maker

Peter Mabeo is a globally-recognized designer and furniture maker based in Botswana, whose Mabeo Brand has been collaborating with local artisans and international designers since 2006. The studio has collaborated with designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Patty Johnson, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Garth Roberts, and Luca Nichetto on sustainable furniture and interior design projects that celebrate African craft heritage and support local craft economies. Peter regularly participates in a variety of international design fairs and exhibitions, including Milan Design Week, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York, and the London Design Festival. Peter founded Mabeo Studio as an offshoot collaborative design office with an interest in Botswana’s materials, traditions, and techniques. 

Ukwizabigira Marie Rose - Designer and Civil Engineer

Ukwizabigira Marie Rose is a designer and a project manager at GAC-Rwanda. She has been part of several projects at GAC including Masoro Learning and Sport Center. She contributes to design, preparation of bills of quantity, and construction administration. 

Marie Rose was born and raised in Bugesera district, eastern province of Rwanda. She attended Kagasa Primary School not far from her home in Mwogo sector, Lycee de Kigali, and GS Kabare for secondary school. In 2013 she received a scholarship to study in China, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Beijing University of Technology in 2018. She received a master’s degree in Bridge and Tunnels engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology in 2021. 

Marie Rose describes working in a male-dominated industry as both interesting and challenging. Her focus is in team-oriented design, communication, and general project management. She believes in a collaborative working arrangement in which male and female work together as partners for both professional development and improving participation of women in the engineering field.