The Great Green Wall Initiative Webinar was held on Saturday 26 March 2022 event and featured presentations on contemporary African cultural transformation in extreme environments such as that of the Sahara-Sahel region.
This was part of a series of webinars that explore opportunities and approaches to design that respond to climate change and the making of culture-sensitive productive rural settlements that take into account the need for affordable shelter, resilient dwelling and sustainable liveability in twenty-first-century rurality.
The event was moderated by Ashraf M. Salama (Egypt), professor of Architecture and Director of Research and of the Cluster of Architecture and Urbanism in the Global South, Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK.
It included the presentations from global experts:
Cordelia Osasona – The Past in Our Future: Transformed Culture, Transforming Builtscape
The presentation provides a general overview of the treasured socio-cultural issues that have tended to condition how (and what) we build, including religion, norms and values, social stratification and occupation, followed by an examination of present realities in terms of globalisation: cultural and environmental (global warming). It explores proposals for present-day adjustments and future sustainability (in terms of orientations with respect to space-use, materials and actual building practice).
David Garcia – Architecture and Extreme Environments
In a time when environments are increasingly under threat, extremes are becoming more the norm than the exception. This lecture argues for a change in mindset, methodology and approach to architectural design, based on local specificity, understanding of culture, challenges and potentials through collaboration and innovation, as part of a holistic approach. It tries to argue the importance of education as an integral part of the architectural discipline. It is through education that the potential and sensibilities of future architects are nurtured, and the discussion broadened in our rapidly transforming world. Education is the seed of change, and in architecture this change is urgent.
Hanaa Dahby – Bio-based Materials and their potential for African Architectural Transformation
The lecture focuses on futuristic sustainable architecture, achieved through implementing local materials, especially bio-based ones, and embedding smart approaches like digital fabrication technologies integration with computational design methods. In addition, multidisciplinary work, automation technologies and other factors will showcase how current and future-oriented techniques could have a direct effect on smart sustainable architecture of the future based on available technologies and local materials. In that context, African local architecture could be re-established based on local identities, aided by widespread new local technologies, to further serve the environment and African communities.
Borong Lin – New Strategies for Sustainable Buildings in Extreme Hot Environments
In the extremely hot environment, some new strategies could be considered in sustainable building design and technological innovation, including the novel design of shading and ventilation, research and application of radiant cooling materials, development of thermal adaptation theory and new technologies, independent temperature and humidity control strategies, and solar-driven high-efficiency zero-carbon air conditioning systems. Several domestic sustainable building cases in extreme thermal environment in China are introduced as examples.
Nikolaos P. Tsinikas – Nature & Architecture
The concept of the presentation is a detailed view of nature as a source of inspiration for architectural design and architectural technology. Form follows function is a term used in zoology showing that any living organism must adapt to the environment to survive. The distribution of loads in structural elements, such as beams, arches, domes, act just like in bones, trees, webs. To enhance the strength of architectural structures, we can consider how assembly connections, compound structures, multicore cables and multilayer structures are made in living organisms. Most of the tools and mechanisms that man made can be found in nature. To conclude, some examples of camouflage, stealth, voronoi patterns, exoskeletons, bone structures, living creatures at the bottom of the sea, architects of nature and microorganisms will be shown.
Anna Heringer – Architecture is a tool to improve lives.
Anna Heringer’s vision and motivation for her work is to explore and use architecture as a medium to strengthen cultural and individual confidence, to support local economies and to foster the ecological balance. For Heringer, “joyful living” is a creative and active process, by which she manifests her deep interest in the sustainable of society and the built environment. Sustainability is a synonym for beauty: a building that is harmonious in its design, structure, technique and use of materials, as well as with the location, the environment, the user and, the socio-cultural context. All of which define its sustainable and aesthetic value.