Dear Rosa Sheng,
I hope this message finds you well. My name is Urechi and I am the Program Coordinator at Ubuntu Architecture Summer Abroad (UASA), an intercollegiate architecture design-build vertical studio. UASA is a program created with the intention of undoing the effects of apartheid architecture in marginalized communities in South Africa. Part of our mission is to use South Africa as a case-study to highlight the role architecture plays in enforcing systemic racism and attempt to dismantle these systems through design.
UASA is based on the fundamental premise that if apartheid architecture could segregate and oppress, community-driven design can bring people together and enable opportunities for all.
Students will be designing and building a home for a resilient family that was excluded by apartheid architecture in Durban. Our hope is to train the next generation of world architects to design places that are inviting, equitable, and inclusive of all.
We know of your dedication towards diversity and inclusion through Equity by Design and have read about the AIA's commitment to lead in the fight to dismantle the systems of racial injustice and violence and create a place where there is justice and equality for all. We believe that this program provides a great opportunity to make that possible. We would like to invite the AIA to partner with us to break down these barriers that start in architecture school and continue into the profession. AIA can partner with us by sharing about the program with its members, sponsoring Black students to attend the program through a scholarship and/or creating an opportunity for their members to donate towards the house which the students will design and build for a family that has been impacted by apartheid architecture.
We are also willing to explore other ways we can partner together in creating opportunities for students about to venture into the practice of architecture and life generally. If interested, we would like to have a follow-up conversation. Please let us know of your availability for a virtual meeting.
Attached is our working program curriculum and the UASA promo poster for more detailed information.
UASA Website: https://www.ubuntuasa.org/
Architizer article by UASA Director, Wandile Mthiyane: The Architects of Systemic Racism
Thank you and Best Wishes,
'InDuna' + UASA Program Coordinator | Ubuntu Design Group