Orkid Studio is a design/build nonprofit active throughout Africa, focused on longterm sustainable development through community based design and construction. Their process looks to deliberately avoid conventional methods of distributing aid, instead beginning with an examination of local context, materials, resources and skills. An original design process then arises out of that initial examination.
Orkid Studio also strongly advocates the design/build process as a means of economic development. The choices of what you design and how you build can have a dramatic effect on local jobs, local earnings, and micro-economies. The studio therefore looks to designs which promote the highest possible economic development.
The Studio is principally active across Africa, but has also undertaken projects in Asia, South America and even back home in the UK. Simultaneously, they maintain a suite of workshops, exhibits and lectures to help spread the word about their work and their design philosophy. To wit, in 2014 Orkid undertook a series of workshops for primary school students in Scotland to introduce them to the disparity of living conditions in less wealthy countries. The students were asked to explore concepts of ‘home’ and ‘shelter’ while being introduced to the concepts of design and architecture.
Orkid is currently completing a large hospital in Zambia, near the border of the DRC and Angola. The extreme remoteness leaves the surrounding area in desperate need of regional health facilities. The hospital is expected to serve 30,000 people when completed. Find out more about this and other projects at the links below.