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Credit: NKA Foundation


The objective is to help design and build a unit of an artisan village, a residential vocational training center for unemployed rural youths of ages 16 to 25 years to undergo a 2-year skills development training in the vocational arts and earth architecture. We want the school plan to emphasize sustainable architecture and cost efficient construction. Thus, we want the buildings to fully integrate earth architecture and passive solar design.




Propose Site Plan by Podjamas Chaisuraphawat, an Architect & Urban Planner in Thailand | Credit: Nka Foundation


As you may know the Abetenim Arts Village is our pilot project for replication in other part of Africa. We are expanding it to include a residential vocational training center for unemployed rural youths of ages 16 to 25 years to undergo a 2-year skills development training in the vocational arts and earth architecture. Specifically, the arts village is conceived as an informal school, an artisanal vocational development center that brings together international workshop participants, local artisans and less privileged youths from the region for skills transfer. The training will be provided by resident teachers and by hosting guest projects by both international and local practitioners in a self-growing school complex. That means, in the beginning there are just a few buildings. After the students learned some construction techniques, they will test their acquired knowledge and skills by building the next part of the school or some functional buildings for the community. Thus, the students are challenged to solve real problems, work together, to learn and build and create. Upon graduation, the cohort of trainees can move on to work on commissions as a building cooperative or work individually to source and building houses. Some of the graduates will be offered employment as teachers of the next generation who join the Workshop School.

Particularly, the arts village will be a residential skills learning center of a self-sustaining type. The construction of the arts village will be carried out in phases to include accommodation for students, staff and international visitors; a multipurpose hall that serves as a kitchen and presentation hall; a commercial center; classrooms such as metalshop, woodshop, fabricshop and earth construction studio; and a demonstration farm. For example, the demonstration farm would be of the subsistent type to grow fruit trees, crops and animals such as bees, chicken and goats for use by the school.



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Locals at the Workshop | Credit: Nka Foundation


This is a two-year vocational training program that draws on apprenticeship with local artisans, and learning-by-doing with professional architects and designers, engineers, university students and volunteers who come from around the world to participate in Nka Foundation workshops. The program is designed as an informal educational programme which combines literacy training with livelihood skills development to empower educationally disadvantaged people with livelihood and enterprise skills training so that trainees can engage in income generating vocation. The arts village brings together a cohort of students who come from villages, rural townships and underserved parts of the city in the region to live together and learn-by-doing on the arts and construction projects involving building with earth, concrete and wood construction. The course include basic design, entrepreneurial skills, rural house building materials production, various house wall construction methods involving cast earth, rammed earth, mud brick, stone masonry and cob construction, as well as roof design and landscaping. The students will also gain introductory knowledge in other areas such as engineering and agroforestry as the school hosts guest projects by both international and local practitioners. You have a solution? Put it to the test on the arts village project!


  • Fashion Design and Production: Weaving, batiking and sewing for local and international fashion markets;
  • Theatre Performance and Filmmaking;
  • Art Studio (painting, sculpture, etc);
  • Building Arts (mud house design, construction and landscaping)

    2nd Kumasi Biennial Symposium | July-August, 2011 | Credit: NKA Foundation