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Community Architecture in AfricaThis is a guest post by friend and former classmate, Charles Newman. Charlie has committed his architectural practice to helping communities in places around the world. He is currently working for International Rescue Committee in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo as the Community Driven Reconstruction Manager and he keeps a great blog on his architectural travels in Africa. Aside from being a LEED AP, his work consistently seeks to integrate sustainability.   

While in a small southern town of the Democratic Republic of Congo in mid 2012, a colleague of mine approached me for some guidance on a large health proposal he was putting together. A portion of the grant would be earmarked for the construction of hundreds of clinics across the DR Congo, and he mentioned that the donor would be very interested in “green” building standards. Knowing that I was a LEED Accredited Professional, he began asking how we might be able to incorporate such building standards into the designs for the pending projects. I rattled off some general guidelines such as using local materials – recycled ones if available, incorporating existing infrastructure, natural ventilation, etc. He jotted down a few notes, then began to pry a little deeper. “What about the LEED point system? Could we incorporate that into our strategy?”

My response was frank: “No, not really. LEED doesn’t work here in rural Africa.” Continue Reading…