• African Design Center; “Bauhaus of Africa” :a new educational program to address the current dearth of professional designers across the continent

MASS Design Group’s Rwanda Program Director, Christian Benimana, will announce his vision for a major new initiative to train Africa’s next generation of creative design talent at the UN Solutions Summit in New York City on Sunday September 27th. Benimana, who oversees the nonprofit design studio’s high-impact architectural practice across Rwanda, will present what he calls the “Bauhaus of Africa”: a new educational program to address the current dearth of professional designers across the continent (estimated at a quarter the number just in Italy).

With a surging population growth projected at one billion over the course of the next twenty years, Africa is in dire need of primary infrastructure, and its cities will need to rely on human-centered designers to tackle the continent’s challenges in a socially and ecologically sustainable way. The interdisciplinary, field-based program will train and deploy the continent’s best creative minds to offer solutions against public health and environmental crises that threaten to cripple the potential of the Africa’s growth trajectory. Selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants, Benimana’s unveiling of the African Design Center at the UN Solutions Summit marks a milestone for MASS Design Group, and a major step in the studio’s mission to incubate local innovation towards tackling the biggest building boom of the next quarter century. ABOUT UN SOLUTIONS SUMMIT The Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals for the advancement of international global dignity, prosperity, partnership, and justice, will be formally launched by the United Nations during the weekend of September 25-27th. To provide visibility and resources to exceptional innovators who are developing solutions that align with a combination of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations has invited 20 of these visionaries, from a global pool of applicants, to outline their intentions to policymakers, investors, and industry leaders.


MASS Design Group is an architecture studio with offices in Boston, MA and Kigali, Rwanda. For the past five years, MASS has worked to create a new practice of architecture that promotes dignity, opportunity and health. Their buildings throughout sub-Saharan Africa, in Haiti, and in the United States have proved the effectiveness of best-practice design to help otherwise under-resourced communities thrive. MASS’s model of impact hinges on community engagement at every phase of design and construction. The firm identifies the potential for infrastructure to improve delivery outcomes, and works with future occupants to find unique constraints and local opportunities. They then optimize the construction process to use local labor and techniques. MASS has observed the success of high-quality buildings as regional catalysts for a new type of architecture, and has scaled these ideas by creating national policy standards. Lastly, as a research and training lab with a dedicated research team, MASS uncovers and evaluates new best-practice methods of designing for impact, and trains architects and designers to grow the next generation of builders in the regions in which they work.


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