Architecture whether still standing or in ruins serves to tell us the story of a country, a city, a place. Architecture can be used to exhibit power in the form of glittering monuments, it can bring communities together in shared, public spaces, and it can provide us with a sanctuary to call home. With buildings all around us architecture creates the bonds of belonging in ways that we take for granted as we go about our day-to-day lives. But it is only when we lose something that we realise how important it was to us. And in times of conflict landmarks and buildings often become the casualties, visible reminders of what has been lost. In the 1960/70’s Somalia was a country with proud architectural heritage, but the onset of an internal civil war saw many great buildings destroyed and a stalling of creating new ones. As the country tries to get back on its feet, architects are having a key role in restoring national pride. Among them Omar Degan founder of DO Architecture.
Born in Italy Degan visited his country of heritage in 2017 and felt a pull to contribute his skill and expertise towards the rebuilding effort. He now has his main architectural practice, DO Architecture, based in Mogadishu, Somalia, with offices in London, UK, and Torino, Italy. Degan’s work aims to uphold the memory of the traditional past in the modern present. As such DO Architecture centres its focus on celebrating local people, cultural identity, and traditions, and making use of local resources and craft skills.
“I feel that architecture and design play a key role in developing countries, but in particular post-conflict countries,” says Degan
Specialising in sustainability, emergency architecture and post-conflict reconstruction DO Architecture is built on a belief that good design should be accessible to all no matter their social status, and can impact communities in a way that is sustainable and culturally correct. This has led the firm to work on pro-bono projects for the most vulnerable communities.
To find out more about Degan Omar Architecture visit: www.degan-omar.com
[Image credits: The images shown from main, Villa La Bianca, Las Anood Public Library, Salsabiil Restaurant, Villa La Bianca Interior belong to Degan Omar Architecture. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]