August 11, 2010

Change by Volunteer Design

I have been showing a great series of photos taken by a photographer who visited Ghana in 2009 to work on a community building project. I'd like to start showing some of the photos from the project so that you can get a strong picture of the life of a community volunteer in Ghana.

You can read the full history of the program in this article, Giving, By Design, in Mimian Magazine. Here is a short excerpt:
"Ghana Design/Build, the resulting program founded by Della-Piana, remains the longest running summer studio workshop in the department of architecture and interior design. Since 1998, interdisciplinary teams of Miami students have completed nine buildings — including a children’s library, a marketplace, a community center, and in 2008, a computer facility."

The article continues:
"To prepare for their six weeks in the West African country, students attend a series of classes about its culture, language, and politics. Upon arrival, they visit Abrafo-Odumase and are introduced at an “opening ceremony.” Before embarking on a two-week tour of the country, students sketch the future job site. While on the road, they create multiple designs."

I enjoyed the quote beneath the photograph series by Adam Nelson on this project that reads: "100 degree heat, an African sun that feels about 6 in from your face, and not a power tool in sight. ready/set/build!"

The sun does feel about 6 inches from your face here in Ghana. Imagine building by hand! That's how it is for virtually every building I've ever witnessed being built. That's how it was for these students too.

“Once we get the go-ahead from the chiefs, we just start building,” says J.E. Elliott, professor of architecture and interior design, who has served as the faculty sponsor since 2006. “There is no bureaucracy. Our building permit is a pick and a shovel.” Read the full story in Mimian Magazine.

Have a look at the whole building project series here at super.heavy's photostream on Flickr.

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