What is the Lo-Fab Architecture Movement? Find out more at the film screening of Made in Ilima

7 pm Monday March 4th, Cornerstone Screening Room 131

MASS’s design practice hinges on thorough community engagement at every phase of design and construction. They begin projects with a process of pre-design immersion, working with future occupants to identify unique constraints and local opportunities, and collaborating towards a design solution. They then optimize the construction process to use local labor, material innovation and techniques and, in doing so, training artisans in new skills. By fostering communication and empowering local residents, each project MASS completes becomes a community development program as much as a construction site. They call this ethos the Lo-Fab [local fabrication] movement, and continuously advocate for this critical and proactive practice of architecture.

In the center of Equator Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ilima community remains one of the most isolated in the world. They have coexisted with endangered wildlife in their surrounding forest for generations, but as the pace of development has increased, this fragile ecosystem has subsequently suffered.

In 2012 the community partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation and MASS Design to build a new conservation-focused primary school and community center. The school opened in 2015, with 99% of the materials sourced within 10km of the site, and 93% of the $351,727 USD project cost invested into the regional economy.

The hour-long film documents the collective building process – one aimed at leveraging local craft and ecological knowledge towards education, preservation, and beauty.


Q&A with MASS Design filmmaker Thatcher Bean to follow film.

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Posted by kbritton@coloradocollege.edu for the March 1, 2019 digest.

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