The Kenyan countryside is home to avant-garde experimentation that is challenging the prevailing ideologies of the term “rural”. This lecture delves into the new, innovations, transformations and explorations seen in the open and untouched (ungoverned) countryside. Cause of anonymity and freedom; the countryside takes a life of its own in all manner of forms, shapes and sizes. Unlike in the city, where the people, cultures and spaces try to merge into one, most of the Kenyan rural landscape is divided along tribal lines which inevitably create political tension but also cultivate the necessary concentration of perspectives that spur context specific innovation. No longer are we confronted with the mundane farm life, deterioration, “backwards“ notion of the rural village, instead the village becomes the voice of reason on how to move forward.
Etta Madete is an environmental architectural designer at BuildX Studio, a lecturer (teaching fellow) at the University of Nairobi, an Aspen 2020 fellow and EDGE Expert. In all capacities, she practices, teaches and conducts research on architectural design innovation to bring sustainable economic, social and environmental development to Kenya and beyond. Most recently, she was the lead researcher for the East Africa section of the exhibition and publication Countryside, The Future (2020) at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, with Rem Koolhaas, OMA, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, exploring the potential, possibilities and pitfalls of the countryside. As a project manager for Zima Homes, an affordable housing project pioneering green, sustainable, and dignified affordable housing in Nairobi, she acts as an advocate for the power of sustainable architectural design to improve lives. Her projects have been published in Architectural Review, Aljazeera, Mail and The Guardian, amongst many others.
The lecture will be held in English language.