Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hi there. So I grew up in southeastern Tasmania, and if you allow me a few moments of nostalgia, I'll show you where I came from in order that you better understand where we end up. For a few of our early years, we lived in a tent at the end of a lush valley by a river. Later my brother and I built our own tent We milked our own cows, worked the lands and grew vegetables and fruit that we lived off. We felled our own trees, and we milled our own timber to build the house I grew up in. We lived a self-sufficient lifestyle and what I thought sustainable at that time. Many years later in London when I was teaching, the head of my department, gave a lecture and she used this book, The Rabbits, to illustrate her talk. I'm gonna read a few pages from this book to you now. It's a story of colonization in Australia where the colonized are depicted by the native animals and the rabbits are, the colonizers are depicted by the rabbits an invasive damaging species which is responsible for much of the natural devastation in Australia. So, from the book At first, we didn't know what to think They look a bit like us. There weren't many of them. Some were friendly. They didn't live in the trees like we did. They made their own houses. We couldn't understand the way they talked. They ate our grass. They chopped down our trees and scared away our friends. And the story goes on Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits. Millions and millions of rabbits. Everywhere we look, there are rabbits. And the book ends. Who will save us from the rabbits? So as I was listening to the lecture I began to think that I was probably a rabbit and my brother was a rabbit too. And I realized I didn't want to be a rabbit any more. So I thought, it might be better to be like a chameleon, able to adapt and change, and blend with our environment rather than conquer it As designers, we are able to practice globally in our networked world We move from village to city, to country to continent with ease and we practice using a common global language. But if we were chameleon designers, we would adapt that language to each new environment that we practiced in. This is the scheme we're currently working on in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a series of small pavilions placed around the existing trees on a small site The stiff roofs with air vents to catch the sea breezes allow heat to escape and shed monsoonal rains. Much of Dar es Salaam is built on ancient coral reefs and these coral reefs are mined to create aggregates in lime and we are discussing using some of these coral for the walls of this building About 500 meters away from this site is this coral mine and most of the aggregates here are crushed manually and they are used to make limestone and aggregates for building materials. To the north of Dar es Salaam, there's a cement factory off in a distance and some of these aggregates are taken into this cement factory and here they are used to make high-quality Portland cement, mainly for export. It's rumored that Roald Dahl once sat underneath the tree on the right and gazed across at this cement factory as I did when I took this photograph and it was this cement factory that was the inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an icon of decadence and excess. Sadly, this is a new-built house in Dar es Salaam today. It's built using mainly imported low-quality cement, imported roof tiles and other imported building materials. It has virtually no relationship to the site on which it is and there's nothing that tells us this house is in Dar es Salaam. We believe we can do better than this. Our practice cell studio has been working predominantly in East Africa for the past three years, and we've been fortunate enough to have clients that encourage us to respect local traditions, values and to create an experience born of the place. We use nature as an inspiration for our work. This roof on the right here was inspired by this amazing cloud formation I saw one morning created by the morning sun heating the mist that falls in the valley overnight. Our roof structure has a spiraling structure that leads up towards a skylight and the skylight brings light down into the center of the covered outdoor terrace. Working in harmony with the nature, this Bougainvillea on the left has been trimmed onto a simple timber structure in order to create a shaded place to sit and work or pass the time throughout the day. Our building on the right uses this as its model So we created a thick shaded insulated roof, timber pole, and it allows the space to be used freely below and let the air to pass between the wall and the roof Or a simple eave shade structure that we simply grew a passion fruit vine over so that people enjoying their breakfast in the morning can pick fresh passion fruit as they eat their fruit salad. And we also use man made objects as an inspiration for our work. This is a house in a slum in Kampala, Uganda's capital city, and it's constructed using old, unfolded oil tanks and fuel tanks and car bonnets. And it's this type of work which is an inspiration to us, for us because it's born of necessity. The building on the right is a small ancient pavilion we were building and it's clad using recycled materials This small work is a hut on the edge of a cotton plantation next to our site. It's a perfect template for us when we are building some accommodation units The thick insulated roof protects from the equatorial sun, it's oriented to protect from the seasonal rains, there's a shaded open space to look out across the cotton plantation for security. Our building attempts to do the same. A thick insulated roof, covered outdoor spaces, a closed site to the rear protecting from seasonal rains and openings towards the magical views beyond. We use two types of timber in the construction of our projects there. In the top left-hand corner you'll see Eucalyptus, an invasive Australian species somewhat like myself, and in the top right-hand corner, you'll see an East African satinwood. Both timbers are available locally so we use these timbers for all parts of the building, for the structure, for the framing, for the joinery and so on. We didn't waste any parts of the trees. The branches left over from the East African satinwood we used to create handrails on the decks of this building whereas the offcuts from the timber, the Eucalyptus poles we created for framing, were sliced into smaller pieces and used to line the underside of this ceiling on the veranda. And the pathway on the left, typical in the villages and slums throughout Uganda to protect from the mud in the rainy season, was the inspiration. Our projects were far away from cities, mainly at national parks, and transport was sometimes unreliable, as basic as services such as water and power. So we tried to do everything manually. Here you can see some of the tools we had to work with: there's an old car seat belt which is used as a tool belt, a rake made of old timbers and rusty nails, and a hacksaw, a hacksaw handle made out of a piece of bent metal rod. And the materials, we source locally as well. Everything we found there such as thatch, recycled metal, and locally fired clay bricks. All of them unique, no materials the same with their own texture and color and quality. And most importantly the people we worked with. So, we sourced all of our labor from the areas surrounding, and we taylored and adapted our design techniques and construction techniques to the skills that we found.