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Active Social Architecture

Active Social Architecture (ASA) is a Kigali, Rwanda based practice with a special focus on schools for children and infants. ASA’s philosophical hallmarks include treating the building’s design as an “added educator,” in other words, the physical form of a school can contribute to a child’s growth and stimulation. This includes a mandate that schools and centers be centrally located, in a conspicuous and safe position, so that they develop symbolic value for the entire community.

ASA seeks to reinterpret the traditional Rwandan vernacular of brick-based, modular structures that can be adapted to Rwanda’s different terrains and topographies. Further, the buildings are designed to serve multiple purposes beyond just a school; community centers, adult education and more.

ASA education and development centers work to reverse decades of structural inequality that denied rural Rwandans the educational opportunities more readily available to their urban counterparts.

ASA is a commercial practice, but most of their clientele are international relief agencies and NGOs, including UNICEF Rwanda, Plan International Rwanda, and others. It was founded in 2012 by Nerea Amoros Elorduy and Toma Berlanda, and since 2014 is run by Zeno Riondato, Francesco Stassi and Alice Tasca.  The three current principals actively teach at the School of Architecture, College of Science and Technology at UR Kigali, and many of the projects involve architectural students at some level.

We spoke with Alice Tasca and Toma Berlanda of Active Social Architecture on the subject of how design approach can mitigate inequality on Social Design Insights. Listen to the episode below.

14 | Combining Ancient Traditions and Contemporary Social Design


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "Ndombolo" by Siama Matuzungidi from his album "Rivers - from the Congo to the Mississippi."