This highly competitive and prestigious $5,000 scholarship is awarded for an illustrated 1,000-word essay. Neky believes that “architecture [can] foster self-reliance” for communities facing the challenges of poverty in the developing world. His conviction grew during a research trip to rapidly changing Masailand in Kenya, where he saw a sharp contrast between traditional buildings and architectural styles imported from the industrialized West. In efforts to mitigate this tension, Neky explores the role of the architect in the creation of vernacular-inspired contemporary buildings that serve as expressions of collective culture. The building designs he has proposed for a rural Maasai community in Kenya have received significant funding for construction. Consistent with vernacular building traditions, Neky’s designs use local materials and embrace the notion of “self-building,” thus empowering Maasai women, the traditional builders in this society.
The distinguished jury, which included principals of major architectural firms, the editor of Canadian Architect, the founding director of Laurentian University’s McEwen School of Architecture, and a member of the Order of Canada, described Neky’s work as “an ambitious vision for how the author plans to use his training as an architect to address third-world living conditions in a culturally sensitive manner.”
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and the RAIC Foundation received 180 eligible entries from students enrolled in Canada’s 11 accredited schools of architecture. The Moriyama RAIC International Prize Scholarship provides students with an excellent opportunity to reflect on and direct their research interests.