ASA, short for Active Social Architecture, represents the founders’ belief and commitment to the social value of architecture. The young practice, based in Kigali, Rwanda, established by two European architects and scholars, Tomà Berlanda and Nerea Amorós Elorduy, is the first step of a collaborative network aimed at bringing together a multidisciplinary team across different fields and continents. ASA works in close collaboration with all of them to achieve quality and excellence in architecture and design, concentrating on elements that improve people's livelihoods, strengthen and empower communities and their sense of identity. Among our clients are organizations such as local and international NGO's, social enterprises, UN agencies focused on both local and global communities.
Projects and built works reflect ASA's belief in the richness and complexity of schemes drawn from, and responding to, the specificities of sites, programs and users bringing innovation through spatial composition, and the adaptive use of local materials and techniques. Architecture is understood as a creative means to problem solving, providing cost effective solutions that are attractive, affordable and improve upon the existing environment.
Design is approached in a holistic manner and seeks to add value to community-based projects both in Rwanda and abroad. In order to have a strong base developed, each and every project is rooted on a research by design, based in findings that come up from the same communities, the vernacular architecture and an intense research of precedents and context. The ensuing process is a constant interaction of stakeholders’ participation, architectural practice and research.
Each member of ASA is dedicated to the approach that design is a tool to empower communities and lead to a stronger, prosperous and sustainable future for Rwanda. To us, the measure of success of our designs comes in their benefit to their primary users, as well as their value to the whole community and impact on the surrounding context as a means to empower, enrich and enhance lives. Good design balances originality and beauty with sustainability, durability and functionality.
Research, both within academia and on-going on-site contextual and social research, is the base for our projects development. The founding partners' trajectory of scholarly work has allowed ASA to test ideas with diverse clients, communities and with students in different settings and conditions. In the realm of academia, the founders and most of the members work have with the young Department of Architecture at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, now part of the University of Rwanda, is a further testament of the firm's mission in the potential of empowerment in education through architecture. Their engagement in the development of innovative and socially responsible solutions for the wider possible number of individuals reinforces the belief that architecture is a right of everyone.