At 7PM on Monday night at AIA/Portland, the local chapter of Architects Without Borders will be presenting its design for a master plan and expansion of the Wollega Adventist Academy in Dongoro, Ethiopia.
Each architect, designer, and engineer is providing pro bono labor to design for a master plan of the school's 40-acre site, as well as design and documentation for several new school buildings. To be implemented in several phases, the expansion will include two new classroom buildings, two new lab buildings, a new library building, two new student dorm buildings, a dining facility, a new gymnasium, and an apartment building and single-family residences for faculty. Site infrastructure improvements are also included in the master plan.
Renovations of the existing buildings and construction of new facilities will be led by Mike Philips, a retired construction executive from Sladen Construction. Philips is coordinating American contractors to provide building expertise, supplies, and heavy machinery to local Ethiopian contractors and craftsmen, who will complete the work. Dongoro is a small rural community near the town of Gimbie that is approximately 285 miles west of the capital Addis Ababa. The Wollega Adventist Academy, originally built in the 1960s, is one of a handful of schools in region that supplements government-sponsored K-8 schools with secondary education. Administered by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the school currently provides education for grades 9, 10 and 11. With this expansion, the school will provide twelfth grade and college-level classes and grow from approximately 150 students to 300 students.
AWB Oregon chapter's first project was the design and construction of a grade school in Bata Atha, Sri Lanka. Subsequent pro bono initiatives include providing hurricane damage assessment training for volunteers traveling to Mississippi, performing damage assessments for homeowners in the Biloxi/Gulfport region affected by Hurricane Katrina, and submitting a Global Green Design Competition Entry. AWB-Oregon also collaborates with the University of Oregon and Portland State University architecture programs to encourage participation in humanitarian-based work through the academic design studio process and in the field, as well as with local and international non governmental organizations and related professional organizations. AWB-Oregon is led by a 5-person board of directors: Angelo Radich, President; Rod Merrick, Vice-President; John Blumthal, Secretary and Treasurer; Abby Dacey; and Shuki Einstein.
After the catastrophic weather events in Indonesia and the American Gulf Coast over the last couple of years, there’s been a lot of talk about architects doing more for under-privileged communities. Now, much of that initial fanfare to help out has died down. But here is our AWB chapter, going stronger than ever to devote design talent and sweat equity towards those who desperately need it. Bravo, people!