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Rwanda challenges notion of "primitive" architecture
Aug 30, 2010

A first-time presence at the Venice architectural Biennale, the eastern-African nation of Rwanda made a splash by showing the use of traditional techniques and materials in design and architecture.
The exhibition, which opened yesterday, showed how natural materials such as ash and cow dung can be used to decorate  walls. It also showed creative uses for centuries-old weaving techniques and natural fibres. These techniques in building have been used to preserve the country's identity and culture after its 1994 genocide.
The featured speaker at the Rwanda pavilian, Burkina Faso-based architect Francis Kere, challenged the notion that these techniques are "primitive" and stated his belief that architecture is undergoing a crisis. He explained that people are not satisfied by modern buildings and that architects and designers should begin taking inspiration from the deeper laws of nature rather than just design and aesthetics.
Fifty-three countries have pavilions at this year's Biennale, which runs until November 21.

Courtesy AFP. Projects from Rwanda on display at the Venice architectural Biennale.

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