Interplay of Cultures RWANDA – Summer Studio 2023

Call for applications to the Interplay of Cultures RWANDA – Summer Studio 2023
DEADLINE 28.4.2023 at 23:59
Poster of IoC Rwanda Summer studio

Aalto WiTLAB is inviting applications for the Interplay of Cultures RWANDA – Summer Studio 2023 (12 cr).

Do you want to work with global real-life challenges through Humanitarian Architecture in Africa, and learn about modern hospital design?

ARK-E1021 - Summer Studio, Humanitarian Architecture, Interplay of Cultures, (12 cr) will take students to Rwanda, Central Africa, to learn about the local culture, while investigating perspectives of global sustainability and development.

The task of the studio is to develop an Improvement Plan for the Nyamata Hospital, in Bugasera District, Rwanda, in collaboration with the University of Rwanda (Department of Architecture).

The studio runs from early June to mid-September, with a 2,5-week field trip to Rwanda in early August.

A travel grant of 600 €/student is provided by Aalto WiTLAB.

The course includes visiting lectures, readings and analysis tasks on hospital designs in various cultural and climatic conditions, studies on local building traditions and materials, as well as social, economic, and climatic characteristics of the local culture. The focus of the course is on knowledge building on sustainable design solutions and culturally sensitive architecture. The course aims at providing the students with a wider perspective and understanding of the processes and opportunities of architectural practice when working in various cultural contexts. The specific tasks of the studio concentrate on hospital design and creation of different scenarios for the transformation of the Nyamata Hospital from a rural hospital into a modern, urban hospital facility.

The studio is supported by Elsa Miller Foundation. Language of the course is English. 

Studio assignment: 

The studio includes analysis and master planning of the Nyamata Hospital area, leading to an incremental development plan and building design for the hospital facilities. The University of Rwanda students will lead the data collection, analysis and master planning, while Aalto students will lead the detailed building design process.

The outcomes include:

  • Stage I: A minimum intervention to achieve an improved patient flow and hospital operations.
  • Stage II: A 5-year Development Plan with moderate intervention. 
  • Stage III: A 10 to 15-year Development Plan, with an architectural plan that serves to cater for chosen hospital activities.

The outputs of the design studio will be collected in a joint publication. The studio framework, collaboration and assignments are outlined in detail in the attached Concept Note document.

Studio Schedule: 

The studio runs with on-campus and blended on-line sessions from the first week of June until the end of July. A field trip to Rwanda takes place between July 31- August 16, 2023. The field trip is a mandatory part of the studio (travel grant of 600€/student is provided). The studio sessions will continue on-campus until mid-September, with additional joint on-line sessions with Rwandan students.


•         Bachelor’s degree 

•         Any of the following courses: State of the World and Development (WAT-E3020), Interplay of Cultures Research & Theory (periods III-V, ARK-E2021), UNIPid courses In case of missing prerequisite courses: it is possible to complete an alternative prerequisite task

•         Proficiency in English language is mandatory

Applying for the Course: 

•         Sendyour portfolio, motivation letter, CV and study transcript by email to: [email protected]

•         Application deadline is 28.4.2023 at 23:59

•         Open to Master's Program in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Interior Architecture with Major in Architecture

•         Maximum number of students accepted is 8

•         The approved students will be informed personally by May 5, as well as given further information about the course practicalities and enrollment in SISU


Saija Hollmén, D.Sc. (Arch), Architect, Professor of Practice in Humanitarian Architecture  

Claudia Auer, M.Sc. (arch), Architect, researcher, visiting teacher for building design

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