Back from South Sudan!

It’s been a couple of years since my last travel to Africa. Being invited to Juba by the South Sudanese government and the UN was an excellent opportunity to refresh memories…

Heavy rain, mosquitos, Nescafé and plastic chairs under a thatched leaking roof, welcome back! The check out of the hotel offered a prelude to the day to come with lots of waiting, in the end resulting in 5 architect teams missing their planes. We headed off to the parliament building over a bumpy, muddy road. It took multiple security checks, 6 hours waiting, one dry muffin, and a couple of episodes of Nigerian soap series leading up to the grand final: the presentation!

Myself and Robert ‘K’ of BKVV architects presented to the entire board of ministers and Vice President of South Sudan for the urban planning and architecture of the envisioned cultural hub. A 20 people strong board, and a once in a lifetime experience.

The republic of South Sudan is young nation celebrating it’s 2nd anniversary on the 9th of July. Infrastructure, watersupply, sewer system, hospitals, everything needs to be planned and built basically from scratch. Nation building also includes harder to install ‘soft values’, to create unity amongst a very diverse people that have been affected by war during decades. South Sudan boosts several ethnic tribes and languages.

The archives building and it’s public area’s will mark the start of a larger cultural planning program. Our vision for the archive centers around social and technological sustainability. With some changes to the functional program of the archives, we created public courtyards and arena’s to stage intangible heritage programs and showcases. It’s a strong instrument that contributes to social change and promotes education, community, and social stability.

We believe that planning from the inside out opens up the archive for a wider audience including the youth of south Sudan. Without knowing once’s past our future is doomed / as Confucius told us. Let’s see if they agree…