When Rwandan President Paul Kagame visited Denver in 2003, he was so impressed with the Denver Tech Center that he wished for a similar center in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. Soon after the President’s visit, the Rwandan government hired Denver-based Oz Architecture to work on a master plan for the city of Kigali, as well as a number of other projects in Rwanda.
Oz Architecture’s Carl Worthington, a founder of the DTC, sees potential for Rwanda to become a technological hub in Africa:
“The Denver Tech Center in 1962 was rolling grassland. You could not see a house at Belleview and I-25. It looked like Rwanda”
Oz has partnered with Engineers Without Borders and environmental engineering firm Tetra Tech to create plans appropriate to the Rwandan context. Economic and environmental conditions have been a major consideration in the development of the projects, some of which have already been completed.
Some simple solutions have been implemented in crowded Kigali neighborhoods that will improve infrastructure without having to destroy already existing structures. The use of cobblestone for the streets and sidewalks has provided an easy upgrade with several benefits. Worthington explains the benefits of cobblestones:
They’re sustainable. They’re removable. They allow the rain water to drain through them. It slows down surface drainage, and it makes cars drive slower”
The Rwandan Government also hired Oz Architecture to help plan placement for a new $155-million international airport, a new medical complex, and a Rwandan Technological Center.
You can read the full story as reported by Bazi Kanani of 9 News, and watch the video she produced here.
Images via Oz Architecture, where you will find details of all their ongoing projects in Rwanda.