Domestic Empowerment: Post War Somali Housing Project

Senior Studio | ARCH 476
Visiting Lecturer Camden Greenlee

TOPIC:  Post-Conflict Urban Microcosms in Mogadishu, Somalia

BACKGROUND: Since the 1990’s, the city of Mogadishu, Somalia has been ravaged by incessant civil conflict.
The result of these conflicts, which still trouble the country today, is an urban infrastructure that is unable to
accommodate the most basic necessities of human life. Mogadishu stands as an infamous poster child of an
increasingly familiar post-war urban condition.

THESIS:  In what way can architecture rehabilitate and reintegrate a displaced, ethnically diverse, civilian
population? Furthermore, what form does this architecture take with regards to the economic, political, cultural,
and social climate of a post-conflict city?

STRATEGIES: Students will be tasked to respond to two (2) challenges.
1. The first is to investigate, in significant detail, attributes pertaining to the environmental, social, political,
cultural and economic condition of Mogadishu, Somalia. Students will need to research and assimilate various
religious and ethnic perspectives on life in urban environments, the availability of materials and skilled labor,
and the hierarchy of social needs. This investigation will be collaborative, and students will be divided into small
groups. A heavy emphasis will be placed on innovative ways of graphically presenting information.

2. The second challenge is to formulate an architectural response that is sensitive to the aforementioned
investigation. Students will fulfill this challenge by individually developing an architectural solution that fits into
an urban “master plan.” In other words, each student will work individually on a building design that, collectively
with the rest of the students, fulfills the requirements of the master plan. Individual programs may range from
housing to schools, hospitals to chapels, baths to farms.