Virtual Design Festival

Live interview with Atelier Masomi founder Mariam Kamara as part of Virtual Design Festival

Architect Mariam Kamara spoke to Dezeen in a live Screentime conversation sponsored by Enscape as part of Virtual Design Festival.

Kamara, who is the founder of Niamey-based architecture studio Atelier Masomi, discussed her approach to architecture with Dezeen's editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.

The Niger-born architect originally studied computer science and worked for several years as a software developer, before obtaining her degree in architecture from the University of Washington.

Dandaji Mosque by Atelier Masomi in Western Niger, Africa
Atelier Masomi worked with Studio Chahar to convert a derelict Niger mosque into a library and community centre

In 2013, Kamara became a founding member of international architecture collective United4Design.

The team, which has projects in the US, Afghanistan and Niger, won an American Institute of Architects Seattle Award for Niamey 2000, a raw-earth housing project located in the capital of Niger.

In 2014, Kamara set up Atelier Masomi with the aim of creating socially conscious spaces that empower communities. Its projects include a market in the remote village of Dandaji in Niger that is housed beneath a series of recycled-metal canopies.

Last year, Atelier Masomi teamed up with Studio Chahar to convert a former mosque into a library and community centre.

The studio recently revealed its plans to design a cluster of five raw-earth buildings for the Niamey Cultural Center in the capital of Niger.

For the past two years, Kamara has received mentorship from architect David Adjaye under the Rolex Mentor Protégé program.

Kamara, who is also one of this year's Dezeen Awards judges, was named 2019 Laureate of the Price Claus Award, which recognises creatives who have had a positive impact on society.

Mariam Kamara
Mariam Kamara is the founder of Atelier Masomi

This Screentime conversation is sponsored by Enscape, a virtual reality and real-time rendering plugin for architectural design programme Autodesk Revit.

Other creatives featured in our Screentime series include MVRDV founder Winy Maas, dean of the Pratt Institute School of Architecture Harriet Harrisstrend forecaster Li Edelkoort, architect Farshid Moussavifilmmaker Gary Hustwit and British-Israeli architect Ron Arad.

Virtual Design Festival is the world's first online design festival, taking place from 15 April to 10 July. For more information, or to be added to the mailing list, contact us at [email protected].