Building Schools in Uganda: The complex role of the foreign architect

2 September 2010

Ben Slee, Architect
Introduction: Anna Rubbo, FADP

About the talk
This talk will focus on my experience of building two schools in Uganda and some of the lessons learned. It will highlight the challenges of designing at a distance , and the necessity of moderating complex ideas in light of local realities that impact design and construction processes. Working in a new cultural context in a foreign language changed my understanding of what is important in architecture and brought home that an essential (but generally unacknowledged) fact that architecture is about communication and cooperation between people. This talk will also explore the professional and personal challenges of such work, and reflect on the value the international NGO and foreign architect can add.

About the speaker
Ben Slee is a British architect who worked with Feilden Clegg Bradley before coming to Australia three years ago. In 2007 he worked on the design of two schools in Uganda on behalf of the Richard Feilden Foundation (, and spent six weeks in Uganda helping build them. Ben has a passion for timber architecture and community led projects. He lives in Sydney and splits his time between teaching, research into timber construction and energy efficiency, and community based projects with Constructive Dialogue Architects in Sydney.

Time: 6.30 to 8.00pm

Location: Lecture Theatre 1, Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning, 148 City Rd, The University of Sydney

Cost: No charge, no bookings

Contact: Sue Lalor

Phone: 9114 0941

Email: 071951432554271c360c3b21250d2020401f054c42120d