Sierra Leone's First School of Architecture

Agreement with the University of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Institute of Architects to help found Sierra Leone’s first School of Architecture.

Date: 1 May 2014

From Professor Robert Mull:

"On the 24th of April we signed an agreement with the University of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Institute of Architects to help found Sierra Leone’s first School of Architecture.

The new School grows out of our involvement with live projects and research in Freetown since 2008. In 2011 Cass researchers and students helped build the Ivor Leigh Memorial primary school in Kaningo. Since then they have surveyed three historic Freetown neighbourhoods and documented these in an exhibition at the British Council and a publication - The Architecture of Three Freetown Neighbourhoods: Documenting changing city topographies 2008-2013. This book aims to raise awareness of the architectural history, culture, topography and future potential of Freetown.

Since the civil war ended in 2002 Sierra Leone has begun the daunting task of reconstruction. Much has already been achieved but there is still a long way to go.  Presently there are only 25 Sierra Leonean registered architects with an average age of 55, who are practising in a rapidly changing, largely unregulated environment and where development is taking place that has little to do with Sierra Leone’s history, climate, dramatic landscape, or substantial but untapped material and human resources.

Our involvement in the school presents an important opportunity to help shape the architectural culture of Sierra Leone as it emerges. Our commitment is to help develop a curriculum that honours and protects Sierra Leone’s cultural, human and material resources. We will do this by sharing our expertise through staff and student exchanges, live projects and joint research.

In time we will be able to offer our students the chance to spend time in Sierra Leone working on live projects in partnership with Sierra Leonean students and local architects. We hope that one of the first of these live projects will be the construction of a part of the new School of Architecture in which we can demonstrate our shared values and commitment to a sustainable and culturally specific architecture.

We will keep you updated, as the collaboration develops and if you want to get more directly involved in this important project do let us know.

The Sierra Leone initiative continues a series of international developments including our role in the creation of The Moscow School of Architecture (MARCH), part of the British Higher School of Art and Design and the establishment of the RIBA Professional Diploma course at the Korean National University of the Arts ".

The Ivor Leigh Memorial Primary School built in Freetown with the help of our staff and students

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