[Graduate School of Design] Aga Khan Program Lecture: Mariam Kamara, “atelier masōmī: pedagogy, practice and (shifting) possibilities”


Monday, March 7, 2022, 12:30pm to 2:00pm


Gund Hall Piper Auditorium

Event Description

The Architecture canon, the way it is researched, taught and practiced, has a singular point of view. Accepting that point of view as universally valid has been one of the biggest missed opportunities in architecture. What we are taught as universal masterworks are, in reality, only a representation of a small homogenous group. This talk will cover the way I have merged practice and research to fill the gaps left by the absence of authentic scholarship outside of the canon. I will also discuss the ways in which this approach continues to shift my conception of what is possible given the contexts, narratives, and challenges of the places in which we work.


Mariam Issoufou Kamara is an architect from Niger who studied architecture at the University of Washington. In 2014, she founded atelier masōmī, an architecture and research practice with offices in Niger’s capital, Niamey. The firm tackles public, cultural, residential, commercial, and urban design projects. Kamara believes that architects have an important role to play in creating spaces that have the power to elevate, dignify, and provide people with a better quality of life.  

The Hikma Community Complex, designed by Kamara and Yasaman Esmaili, won the 2017 Gold LafargeHolcim Award for Africa and the Middle East, and the 2018 Silver Global LafargeHolcim Award for Sustainable Architecture. Other projects include the Dandaji Regional Market, which was shortlisted for the Dezeen Awards in 2019. Upcoming projects include an office building in Niamey as well as the Niamey Cultural Centre, which Kamara designed under the mentorship of Sir David Adjaye as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Initiative.

In 2019, Kamara was named as a Laureate of the Price Claus Award. She was a 2019 Royal Academy of Arts Dorfman Awards finalist. The New York Times named her as one of 15 Creative Women of Our Time. The Royal Institute of Canada named her as one of their 2020 Honorary Fellows. The firm has appeared twice on the AD100 list.

Follow Mariam Kamara on Twitter and Instagram.

This event is part of International Womxn’s Week 2022, presented by Womxn in Design.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.