Prototypes at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Work of HuMatLab researchers featured as part of the LowDO installation “Enviromolecular” at the 18th international architecture exhibition Biennale Architettura 2023: The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Dame Lesley Lokko, as part of the Dangerous Liaisons section in the Arsenale. Per the Catalog of the Biennale:

Over two decades, Low Design Office – based in Austin, Texas and Tema, Ghana – has explored autochthonous material ecologies of micro-architecture, ranging from canopy, table-top and umbrella-serviced micro-enterprises to home-businesses housed in sheds (colloquially called “kiosks”) and arboreal, roadside and cottage industries that constitute, in aggregate, a massive distributed armature of regenerative infrastructure for socioeconomic empowerment. 

Integrating design and engineering, this work advances a model of autoconstruction that recasts kiosk culture as emergent infrastructure for African “rurban” transformation. Launched with French design consultancy Panurban in 2012, the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) initiative combines lab research and iterative “popular prototyping” via community workshops with grassroots makers in West Africa to co-design flexible archi-technology for crafting space. 

AMP spacecraft is an open design and manufacturing standard that utilizes design for reassembly principles and modular prefabricated components to reformat the kiosk typology as synergetic matrix for material coordination across space-time. Coproduced in and around Accra’s Agbogbloshie scrapyard, recycling and maker hub, AMP amplifies circular processes of (re)making with others as a mode of collective habitation. The open-source design kit builds equity by replacing paradigms of innovation (that exploit the planned obsolescence of artifacts for profit over planet) with reparative praxis of renovation for spatial justice across physical and digital realities.

“Enviromolecular” refers to basic structure for life support and a “chemical” approach to building dynamic space. Atoms conjoin periodically to form molecules, minimum microstructures capable of performing a material’s chemical behavior – how matter interacts, electronically – enabling quantum effects to register harmonically at human-scale. Components of this ongoing project are presented at La Biennale Architettura 2023: The Laboratory Of The Future.

Low Design Office, Austin, USA; Tema, Ghana
— DK Osseo-Asare, State College, USA, 1980;
Vive e lavora / Lives and works in State College, USA and Tema, Ghana
— Ryan Bollom, Spring, USA, 1979;
Vive e lavora / Lives and works in Austin, Texas

Collaborazione autoriale / Authorial collaborators
— Yasmine Abbas, Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP)

Collaborazione tecnica / Technical collaborators
— HelenHanCreative with Allie Palmore, Humanitarian Materials Lab (HuMatLab) and Digital Fabrication Lab (DigiFAB) at the Stuckeman School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Graphic Design

— Kwabena Acheampong, AMP Makers Collective, Ashley Heeren

Con il supporto aggiuntivo di / With the additional support of
— Stuckeman Collaborative Design Research Program at the Pennsylvania State University, ANO Institute
for Art and Knowledge, producers of the Ghana Pavilion: Biennale Arte 2022, curated by Nana Oforiatta Ayim