Contemporary architecture in Africa is increasingly dominated by building methods and styles transplanted from the industrialized West, undermining the continuity of African vernacular architecture.
Often poorly grafted to local site conditions, these transplanted building models frequently struggle to support community identities. This thesis argues that this is largely due to inappropriately designed shared spaces and through construction methods that disregard the collective agency of users.
In response, this thesis employs ‘Chrysalis’: a perceptual lens for reinterpreting vernacular building strategies to demonstrate how collectively built shared spaces can better foster communal cultural expression in contemporary African architecture.
This thesis argues that culturally embedded communal space can advance collective identity, promote safety, and encourage social interaction. It also explores how user-participatory construction methods can empower communities by cultivating self-reliance.
Transformed though ‘Chrysalis’, a rich history of building traditions is reimagined in the design of a cultural center for a Kenyan Maasai community.