Join us in Abetenim, Ghana anytime between June 3rd, 2017 through August 31st, 2017. We will be having a construction workshop, where we will use natural elements and traditional building techniques to build an artist-in-residence center.
We will live and work within the community of Abetenim. The workshop will bring together international volunteers and local builders.
The collaborative construction process provides everyone the opportunity to share and learn from one another’s experience and knowledge, helping the team to develop new techniques, perspective, and understanding.
Working closely with the community and the local builders, we aim to understand the reasoning and implications behind current construction methods. We will interrogate how evolving traditional techniques can help to create a more community-focused building process, with a focus on sustainibility and tradition.
Check out the Information Booklet for more details.
Ghana has a long history of using earth construction methods, as do many other countries throughout the world. In Ghana, common stereotypes exist that propagate the idea that earth construction is a symbol of poverty. Too often, earth construction is assumed to identify the struggling farmer or a socially inferior group of people. These stereotypes remain unchallenged and persist due to the overwhelming presence of deteriorating earth structures in Ghana’s landscapes. In many instances, mitigating these issues is only a matter of implementing proper technique and maintenance. However, as these conditions become more common, the shift to modern building methods and materials gains momentum. This shift is accompanied by negative impacts on small, growing communities. With modern construction methods come higher material costs, inefficient building systems, and loss of culture.
Weft aims to alleviate the stereotypes surrounding earth construction by offering a fresh perspective on the traditional building methods found in Ghana. Both rammed earth and waddle and daub will be utilized. Weft will explore the structural and aesthetic implications of integrating these two distinct techniques.
Originally from Connecticut, Sam received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She lives and works in Los Angeles. She has experience in volunteer build workshops working with students who have various experiences in construction. Her home is walking distance of at least three ice cream places, but anything can be walking distance if you believe.
Eddie received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his Master of Design Research from SCI Arc. He has experience in design build projects, working through design, material research, and construction. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His roommates include 3 succulents, 1 mini-cactus, and a corn plant.
Nka Foundation & Local Support
The workshop will be completed in partnership with the non-profit Nka Foundation. Focused on sustainability through the growth of communities and human capital, Nka Foundation is run by artists, teachers, and volunteers. The organization focuses on elevating the technologies and materials of an area to create and maintain healthy environments and communities.
With a number of successfully completed projects already at Abetenim, Nka Foundation has a positive and agreeable presence within the community. We will be collaborating with locals, including their builders and craftsmen who have had great experience with many forms of earth-construction.
Ghana is located in West Africa. In part due to a stable democracy, Ghana has experienced great growth in recent years. Being a very multi-cultural country, the larger cities are visited by plenty of tourists. Ghanaian people are welcoming to visitors and are excited to show their beautiful landscape.
Our workshop will take place in Abetenim, a rural arts village. Abetenim is situated within the Ashanti region, near the city of Kumasi, the 2nd largest city in Ghana. Abetenim has a population of approximately 1000 people, 60% of them are under the age of 25. The village is composed of different types of earth construction, making up houses and schools. The main industry is the production of palm oil, which is also the root of the village name. Abetenim loosely translates to “village of palms”. The native language in the Ashanti region is Twi. There are a number of resources to become familiar with the language but also note that many people in Abetenim also speak English.