What does architectural design in Africa entail? And what is the role of the architect in such a complex situation? Design in developing countries is a contemporary, yet difficult theme to manage due to the complexity of the specific and varied contexts in which you will work. The architect who wants to confront a project in these territories literally needs to think and work outside of “the box” and utilize tools other than those typical of the discipline. The project is fueled by scientific data from other sciences and becomes a system of systems, assuming a complexity that goes beyond the simple architectural project by creating multiple connections both locally and globally.

The role of the architect

The challenges facing the architects of tomorrow in Africa include: the need to handle a huge amount of complex data and the need to develop new models and scenarios around which you gather the economic and physical resources necessary for the implementation of sustainable transformation processes in these territories.

In this context, the project architect becomes an expert on transnational development, a multi-faceted, we might say, “Jack of all Architects”.

The non-profit association Whanau comprises a team of young architects and engineers with different professional specialties that are united by a strong desire to help, even in small ways, the future development of the country.

Currently, the team is working on the reorganization and expansion of the Monze Mission Hospital, an advanced level hospital in the Southern Region of Zambia.

The preliminary planning phase of the project is now complete; it was reviewed by the Hospital Commission and Local Authorities and approved in August 2015.

The Hospital Commission also expressed their desire to implement improvements in the grounds surrounding the hospital: this proposal became the subject of enthusiastic discussion, since these areas often become a natural extension of building and in light of the importance that public open spaces have for the local population.

Therefore, the project exists and the Committee is trying to raise the funds for its concrete realization.

This is also why we need you!

Following a brief description of the projects: if you want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us!

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The Monze Mission Hospital Commission made a request for help in the reorganization of existing and planning of new wards within the current hospital space. The request was accepted and, after months of working closely with the Commission, a preliminary plan was finalized in August 2015.

This project includes an expansion of the existing facilities as well as the 4.2 hectares of land purchased by the Monze Mission Hospital in March 2015.

The extension will include:

  • Construction of an Emergency Department
  • Construction of a new Internal Medicine Ward
  • Construction of a Gynecological Ward
  • Construction of a Psychiatric Ward
  • Housing facilities for students from government hospital programs


A first theoretical contribution to the design of the open spaces was addressed in a thesis entitled “Monze | ZAMBIA: Landscape Architecture considerations in Emerging Countries”.

Through a necessary analysis of the main factors that influence and characterize the macro transformations of the country, the aim is to elaborate an ABACO OF OPEN SPACES. This is a design strategy that does not pursue a static model but rather an adaptive tool, taking into account the balance between innovative construction systems and traditional techniques to create a malleable design project that can be adjusted depending on the specific environmental conditions.

Specifically, it is an XY matrix, that is a system which takes into consideration environmental factors (studied at the analytical stage) and the needs of man (determined with on-site interviews), to calculate in terms of quantity and quality to what extent the factor NATURE has on the design of open spaces.

This meta-project, likely to change in a bottom-to-top logic allows builders, residents and stakeholders to intervene starting from the architectural prototypes and models, and plays an important role in the resolution of social, economic and environmental problems according to the paradigm of sustainability.


Federica –

Ilaria –

Claudia –

Valentina –