Building with Local Earth featured in Ghanaian Design-Build Workshops

The Nka Foundation is now accepting applications for 2014 through 2015 featuring design-build workshops that facilitate learning by doing on sustainable architecture at Abetenim in Ghana.

This program promises high-impact learning practice, ideal for motivated college students and recent graduates seeking real-world learning opportunities to explore and generate design solutions in a location outside of Western culture. It provides an opportunity to immerse in the local Ashanti culture and to collaborate in a design-build process that involves field trips to local sites, discussions, and learning by doing on a building project. You will work side by side with local artisans and creative colleagues to generate an alternative using sustainable natural materials while furthering your knowledge of the intersections between architecture and rural development. Experience how a design problem, budget and site-specific dynamics such as materials, indigenous technologies and community can provoke resourceful thinking and hybridization. In the process, students will learn to design what is buildable.

The design-build workshops run for about eight weeks; you can join any time but must participate for a minimum of two weeks. Summer, fall, winter and spring workshops are offered. Everyone is welcome: students and recent graduates of architecture and design, and volunteers from around the world. Students can use the opportunity for an internship/stage or thesis. 

The project site is Abetenim Arts Village, which is a mud architecture demonstration site and arts training centre located 40 kilometres southeast of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region. Accommodation is provided in guest houses at the arts village, or via homestay with a local family for cultural immersion.

For more information, please visit or e-mail