Project Myemyela

Project Myemyela, Limpopo (Republic of South Africa) 2017

University of Nottingham

Unit 2A is a unique experiment in alternative methods of architectural education. It is open to students in second year studying for the B.Arch and M.Eng degrees. The pedagogy explored in the unit is known as “Design/Build Studio”. Students who participate will then select from one of the other studio units for their third year.

The project for academic year 2016/2017 was called Project Myemyela – “myemyela” means “smile” in Sesotho Sa Leboa, the language spoken in the region. With the exception of installation of a fabric roof to be installed over summer, (currently being prefabricated in the department at Nottingham by a research team specialising in this field) the project was completed successfully at the beginning of May 2017.

Sites in local villages are selected working in cooperation with South African NGOs the Thusanang Trust and Education Africa.

The student team carry out all fundraising for the project, and the initiative each year spends over 90% of these funds within 50km of the chosen site.

Project construction takes place at Easter, with two phases of two weeks working flat out to complete the project.

Client: Rethuseng Day Care Centre (Lephephane), The Thusanang Trust (Hanaertsburg)

Tutors: John Ramsay (unit head & project leader), Malcolm Dugdale, Peter Russell, Robin Wilson, Katharina Borsi, Tony Gospell, Charley Wilson (film maker), Guy Cross (film maker), Steve Wickham (structural engineering), Lois Plaistow (structural engineering)

Students (phase 1): Sheel Kothari, Pooja Chikhlia, Tamsin Gamble, Rebecca Palmer, Chelsea Keely, Jemima Fasakin, Grace Yu, Yuriko Baneke, Aiden Mwombeki, Emily Atkinson, Qiwen Cao, Joe Copley, Laura Walker Beavan, Emma Lewis, Jaymee Malkan, Asha Nicholson, Johanna Lynn, Vickie Tang, Olivia Psara

Students (phase 2): Emily Page (M.Eng), Charlotte Hodgson (M.Eng), Emmanuel Rufai (M.Eng), Rachel Levy (M.Eng), Rachael Milliner (M.Eng), Lilla Porkolab (M.Eng), Zena Gammoh (M.Eng), Elizabeth Ryall, Ellenor Ward, Emily Blanchard , Vaishnavi Gore, Safwa Chowdhury, Mahla Farrokhi, Elizabeth Borland, Ellise Colley, Andrew King, Lucy Wren, Stephanie Mervild, Hannah Hart, Louise Jones

Research Question:

Pedagogical: 1.What is the impact of early exposure of architecture discipline students to live-build projects?

2.Is a programme of high impact (i.e. real clients, real building, actual construction experience) sustainable in the context of a University architecture programme?

Social impact: what is the long term impact of live project interventions in the education of children in rural villages in South Africa (with Education Africa)

Links: Project Myemyela Facebook Page


Architecture, Permanent, Undergraduate, Months, Self-funded, 11-50, Collaboration, Curricular, Students with tutor, Nottingham Univ., Limpopo