Mariam Kamara could profoundly change the pedagogy of design everywhere

Similarly, Neal Shasore, head of the school and chief executive of the London School of Architecture, has spoken out in favor of decolonizing the study of architecture. The publisher of the Parisian magazine The tightrope walker, Léopold Lambert, recently said: “No other discipline is better for implementing settler colonialism.” And a group of professors and students from Keele University in the UK published an 11-point “Manifesto for Decolonising the Curriculum” in 2018.

Kamara says the idea of ​​offering her critique in the form of a studio in one of the world’s most prestigious architectural training grounds came to her gradually, like her own professional growth. Memories of his childhood spent partly in the Sahara, an hour’s drive from a 15th-century town that stands out for the indelible profile of its adobe architecture, served as an antidote to his own feelings of alienation when she realized how little teaching time was devoted to her. to the history of places other than Europe. “When I was studying in the United States, I was constantly asked to unlearn what I knew to be true,” says Kamara, who earned her MArch in 2013 from the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington.

Niamey 2000, by United4design, a collective of which Kamara is a member, densifies the city without disturbing the cultural fabric of the district. It is constructed mainly of locally made mud bricks to avoid the use of imported concrete and steel. COURTESY OF TORSTEN SEIDEL

After graduating, she launched her business in 2014. Her stint as a mentee of David Adjaye through the 2018-2019 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative provided additional exposure. A recent announcement that she is part of a high profile commissioning team for Liverpool’s Canning Dock which includes Adjaye, British architect Asif Khan and American artist

Theater Gates has expanded its business. She expects her staff, which grew from four to 12 last year, to double again. Meanwhile, she plans to open a new office in New York to handle furniture design, competitions, and other work. Projects on the panels include sites in Senegal, Liberia, Ghana and the Middle East. “We do a lot of guest competitions, which wasn’t the case before,” she says.

Working increasingly outside her comfort zone of Niger prompted Kamara to wonder what kind of design might be appropriate and ethical to offer to a foreigner. “What is my place here? she asks. America is a perfect place to start teaching this process because it’s the “perfect colonial project,” she says.

Abdul J. Gaspar