We had a very special guest for our Design Open Mic session on Wednesday, June 1st. David Thiru, director of Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) Academy was in town all the way from Kenya, and came for a special visit to the office to talk about his experience working with Architecture for Humanity on the Mathare Football for Hope Center in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Mathare Football for Hope Center is a community center that utilizes sports -- football in particular -- as a positive unifying factor for engaging and educating youth in and about community service, leadership training, and AIDS testing and prevention. David spoke about the advantage of certain design elements in emphasizing the center's goals, such as the library space that leads to the soccer pitch. This layout ensures that each and every young athlete, before making his or her way to the field, will pass through the library.
It was great hearing about the things that worked well at the center, but Kate Stohr, our Managing Director at Architecture for Humanity, really wanted to find out from David what sort of things didn't work and what needed improvement. After assuring his audience many times that, overall, he was very pleased with the work that was done, David finally conceded that the pergola at the entrance of the pitch was rendered useless due to lack of shade and protection from the brutally intense Kenyan sun. You can be sure that research is now underway to find some native Kenyan plants that will cover the pergola, and provide natural cooling and shade.
We thank David very much for coming in to speak with us. For those who missed it, check out the recap in the video below.