‘My audacious dream is to create the first African Design Center, because we need to harness the talent and spirit that is uniquely African,’ says Christian Benimana from Rwanda, who has already realized his childhood dream to become an architect. A scholarship in China, which required him to become fluent in Chinese, not only taught him his profession, but also made him aware of the dangers of uncontrolled urbanisation. 

After completing his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) of Tongji University in Shanghai, Benimana joined MASS Design Group, founded in 2008 by Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks. Benimana was a 2011 Global Health Corps fellow with MASS and Partners in Health projects and has been involved with design/build projects, development initiatives, operational and administration leadership at MASS, as well as teaching at the architecture school of the former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST).

Benimana is the chairman of both the Education Board of the Rwanda Institute of Architects and the Education Board of the East African Institute of Architects. He now is also leading the implementation of the African Design Center, a field-based apprenticeship that is set to be the BAUHAUS of Africa. Eventually Benimana wants to establish three of such centres across Africa in order to breed a generation of human centred African designers. In Benimana’s vision these designers will form the creative leadership that will design and build the future cities of Africa and make them ‘the most resilient and most social inclusive places on earth.’

This talk is made possible thanks to Het Nieuwe Instituut (The New Institute) and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.