Changemaking through education, environment, arts, infrastructure, and more.

Join us in creating a more just world, filled with compassion and joy.
Our projects,

Pan-African library initiative is a library initiative between the cradle signature library, South Africa, and Sudan Art + Design Library, Sudan. Both lead by a future where youth are educated, empowered, and inspired by the arts, it aims to nurture the continent and its youth – to replace the story of separation, with one of unity.

Kamwenge Scholarship Fund was established for all children to receive an education that gives them the skills they need to support themselves. The teamwork with existing secondary schools to offer scholarships to bright students whose parents cannot afford fees.

Sangiro is an informal rural community that has been struck by continuous immigration and economic disruption, making access to both children’s education and water a vital concern and unavoidable responsibility. We now seek immediate relief to tackle the severe water shortage.

Academy of humankind is a school with the vision of providing a different mode of education to underprivileged children residing in the Cradle of Humankind. It’s a space of innovative learning, safety, individualism, and community.

Our research,
Indigenous building of the environment and the resilience of the land: circumpolar north experiences beyond architecture

This research questions the widely praised role of human genius in the shaping of architecture as a complete object, resulting from the active imposition of ideal form upon the raw materials of a passive Nature. The research does so by relying, mainly, on the understanding of indigenous practices of building the environment —particularly those deployed by the Dene people of the Canadian Northwest Territories.

The contrasts arising between these different understandings of the human role in the processes of materialization, may help us both, to reorientate the building of the environment far beyond dominant understandings of architecture and, thus, to move with all their social and ecological implications from current practices of planning (and control) to those of resilience (and trust).

Read the full research here.

Towards informal planning: mapping the evolution of spontaneous settlements in time

Cities are the largest complex adaptive system in human culture and have always been changing in time according to largely unplanned patterns of development. Though urban morphology has typically addressed studies of form in cities, with emphasis on historical cases, diachronic comparative studies are still relatively rare, especially those based on quantitative analysis. As a result, we are still far from laying the ground for a comprehensive understanding of the model of change of the urban form. However, developing such understanding is extremely relevant as the cross-scale interlink between the spatial and socio-economic dynamics in cities is increasingly recognized to play a major role in the complex functioning of urban systems and quality of life.

The research examines the urban form of San Pedro de Ate, an informal settlement in Lima, Peru, throughout its entire cycle of development over the last seventy years. The study, conducted through four-month on-site field research, is based on the idea that informal settlements would change according to patterns similar to those of pre-modern cities, though at a much faster pace of growth. To do so, we first digitise aerial photographs of four different time periods (from 1944 to 2005), to then conduct a typo-morphological analysis at four scales: a) building, b) plot, c) block, and d) settlement (comprehensive of open space and street network). We identify and classify patterns of change in the settlement’s urban structure using recognised literature on pre-modern cities, thus supporting our original hypothesis.

Read the full research here.

Glocal earth research: enhancing local practices of stabilised rammed earth construction in a global range

There are many reasons we —humans— have chosen to work with earth over the millennia. In the past, it was largely due to necessity, availability, and adequacy. Nowadays, in addition, many people chose to build with earth (using techniques such as rammed earth) for a range of reasons. Its use is fostered because it is a natural material, it has a low-carbon footprint, or it is energy-efficient. But it is also used because it is beautiful and enables processes of participation.

Stabilised Rammed Earth using cement offers savings in embodied carbon of up to 70% compared to conventional fired bricks and up to 50% compared to concrete. While this is a great alternative to these conventional materials, it is by no means perfect. Cement production accounts for a significant portion of global greenhouse emissions and can be hazardous to humans under certain conditions.

Part of our aim at AKOMA_foundation is to further develop the technique, into ways of building with less cement, while maintaining the strength that will allow us to build up to three stories of Stabilised Rammed Earth without any reinforcements. Therefore, our research focus within this area is on alternative stabilisers.

If you or your organisation is interested in learning more about our work in this field and would like to contribute to our research, please let us know.

bioLAB

Our research extends to every facet of how we, as humans, do things and therefore to the way we build. From the outset, using materials that have a minimum impact on the environment has been a priority for AsaDuru, part of the AKOMA collective. The earth lab was set up to test, explore and develop new findings in earth construction.

These findings will continue to play a role in shaping the materials the project uses. Establishing a rammed earth and compressed earth block mix which can effectively remove all cement content is of high priority to ensure the minimum possible carbon footprint for the build. The plaster and floor mixes will be refined to provide finishes which best meet our projects’ aesthetic needs. Lastly, innovating with mycelium products will allow us to showcase a more planet-friendly alternative in an emerging field of material production and showcase the benefits of nature based construction materials.

Self-help building: wanderings into a resilient strategy of living

This research wanders into the potentialities of self-help building for allowing a more social and ecological resilience than ready-made housing delivery systems do.

Understanding the self-help building of the environment not just as a practice forced by the increasing urban populations in the Global South but as a strategy of living worth to be considered the world over, firstly, the research addresses the misconceptions surrounding the meaning of self-help. A clear understanding of what self-help housing entails constitutes and success in, allows stepping further into the self-help building of the environment as a resilient strategy of living.

Then, and in order to highlight the particular potentialities of user-driven self-help housing, the research contrasts self-help practices with large-scale systems and institutionally-driven self-help programs for housing provision.

Finally, the research compares the dynamics of thriving and decay in current self-help housing and so-called vernacular settlements, leading to an understanding of the building of the environment in which the paradox of control —in particular to property and participation—, stands out as the fundamental aspect in which to foster the future practice and research for sustainable alternatives of being-in-the-world.

Read the full research here.

Sahtu Pilot Guardians, Akoma Foundation
San Pedro, Akoma Foundation
Rammed earth samples, Akoma Foundation
Our approach to all we do,
1/ Co-contextualisation

Through an interdisciplinary residence based on empathy, we use sensitive drawings and models, social maps and community engagement to find ways of enhancing the collective intelligence of the group.

2/ Co-conception

Rather than having outsiders design the environment, and lives, of the beneficiaries, we make them the architects, engineers and business owners of their own circumstances. Our role is to facilitate and enhance their creativity. They are the focus, we are the wallpaper.

3/ Co-construction

By enabling people to build their own structures, landscapes, and businesses, they gain a new level of ownership and confidence. Beyond gaining recognised skills, they become leaders of their community

4/ Co-evaluation

More than anything, the beneficiary’s own evaluation of the project and the change in their community defines ‘success’. Whilst all stakeholders are engaged, it is critical that we ensure the impact on any project extends beyond the life of that single project. It is a seed investment for the community, for the environment and for society at large