9th workshop: HANDS ON POCKET PARK

Since 2013 UnlimitedJCA and Mekelle School of Architecture organize creative workshops with “hands on” a challenge from real life, where usually up to 100 students participate. In 2020 the topic is “Hands on The Pocket Park” and thus new cooperation gets introduced between Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.

The Pocket Park, initiated in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, is a pilot project of a broader program promoting creativity, community linkages and environment..

The first phase of Pocket Park project is a multidisciplinary workshop session about public space for artists, architects, landscape architects, gardeners, designers, sculptors, welders, graphic designers, sociologists and others. It consists of a conception of a large-scale urban and landscape creation including greenery and small architecture from recycled materials. These workshops are open – “with the people for the people” so that local people can explore, learn and experience art and architecture as a city-constructive tool.

One of the scheduled workshops is in Ethiopia, at the occasion of the annual workshops organized with unlimitedJCA. It will be led by Czech-burkinabe architect Michaela Solnická. Mister Souleymane Jain Kone is invited to contribute to the workshop as a local expert, artist who initiated the Pocket Park in Ouagadougou, co-founding member of the creative collective JUMP (Jeunesse Unie pour un Mouvement Positif), artist and gardener.

The workshop is an intensive and playful approach to explore how the architectural tools can be used to shape public interest offering an unique eye opening experience with hands on realisation with the real result and impact on the every day life of people in Ouagadougou… The city becomes the archi-laboratory…

The course gives special emphasis to the local context, sustainability, replicability, material selection, flexibility, user simplicity, effective installation technologies, cost minimization, affordability, … The focus is on elemental design in architecture and furniture design.


2013_06______initial contact about research cooperation
2013_09______arrival to Ethiopia, 3-month long research in situ
2013_10-11______workshop “Think globally, act locally!” in Mekelle University
2014_02______booklet “SCHOOLdesignINNOVATIONS” , (in chapter Fresh Ideas)
2014_05______workshop “Find It and Use It” about public space in condominiums
2014_11______product design workshop “Condominium Street Fu(rni)ture” at the occasion of the International Conference “The Affordable and the Profitable” in Mekelle
2015_01-03______candidature for the grant of the Czech embassy in Addis Abeba to organise workshop build the condo fu(rni)ture – refused
2015_10______workshop “Conservation, Creativity and Communication” – postponed
2016_04______workshop “Low Cost Strategies in Design and Communication 2016
2016_07-08_____staff member of EDC Engineering for Developing Communities – in the international summer program initiated by Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
2018_03-04____workshop Hands on Lowcost_Design
2019_03_____workshop Hands_on_bambootecture
2020_04_____workshop Hands on Pocket Park

supported and accompanied by

AMA (Art Moves Africa) – Jakub Cigler Architekti – Institut Français de Paris (appui aux opérateurs culturel aux Caraïbes et en Afrique) – Trust in Play

in pictures

thank you!

The sincere acknowledgement is addressed to all people who contributed with their ideas and energy to make this experience happen.

The whole team of instructors and architects from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning in Mekelle, to the energetic and generous Elias Gebrebrhan Gebru, the dynamic and determined Matadale Mekonnen Mandefro, Elsa Gidey Gebremariam, Elias Gebrebrhan Gebru, the Chair of Architecture Daniel Yirdaw, the remoted support Daniel Semunugus, Tu´umay Allene, the Head of the School of Architecture and Haddush Goitom, the scientific director of the EIT-Mekelle.

The workshop would not be possible without the continuous engagement, time and energy of the collectif JUMP: Souleymane Ladji Kone, Michel Tieba, Harouna Yanogo, Stéphane Samandoulougou, assistance of Michaela Saisová, the production manager of the studio Jakub Cigler Architekti, and the overwhelming generosity of Jakub Cigler, the founder and the director of the studio Jakub Cigler Architekti.

Thank you!
Michaela Solnická Volná