6 March – 28 May 2017 ~ Abetenim, Ghana

Framed Escape Library Workshop

Framed Escape Library Workshop

Workshop to build the first prize winner of the 4th Earth Architecture Competition.

Join at any time for a period of at least two weeks to help build the “Framed Escape Library” designed by the French architects Maude Cannat and Rachel Méau. It’s not all work!

In Abetenim, children do not have local access to secondary school education and must walk long distances to access the few schools that do exist. Those who cannot afford boarding school often end up quitting school. Illiteracy is not the key. By building a local secondary school, the children of the village and the surrounding communities can continue their education in their hometown. A master plan for the school has been planned by Nka Foundation along with international volunteers and people from the village of Abetenim.

The purpose of this workshop is to build the school’s library with community labour and help from participants from around the world. The construction will involve contemporary building techniques and local methods of construction.

Building the library

The project will be built with community labour, in order to effect an exchange of skills and knowledge between local builders and international volunteers. You’ll gain hands-on experience in hand-made earth construction and lightweight framing using local and recycled materials.

The library is already designed, but there many technical solutions still to be resolved on site. Together, we will seek the best earth mixture, design the details of the furniture and search for the most economical but sustainable method of construction. You will be involved in building the project as much as in designing its details.

But the project is not only about building with local earth! It is also about immersing oneself in the local culture and lifestyle, living and working among the local people. You will have the chance to take part in some of the social events in the everyday life of the community, such as weddings, naming ceremonies and meetings to gain new skills. There will be short breaks from the construction project to participate in field trips to explore nearby cultural sites such as Bomwire Kente Village, Bobiri Forest Reserve, or the cultural centres in the historic city of Kumasi.

Who can participate?

The workshop is an open call for participation. It brings together participants from around the world interested in sustainable design & architecture. You don’t need to have any particular knowledge in construction, everyone is welcome! Students can use the opportunity for an internship, a thesis or personal research. We encourage participants to stay for as long as possible as this will allow the best possible involvement in all phases of the project.


Abetenim Village, near Kumasi in the rural territories of the ancient Ashanti Region of Ghana.

How much?

Food & accommodation 80€/week. Contribution to material and labour 350€ (cost reductions possible, please contact us). Airfare, vaccination and visa are your own responsibility. Accommodation is provided in one of the 9 guesthouses in the village, with running water and electricity. Food is be prepared by a local cook, or by members of the workshop team who wish to learn Ghanaian cuisine.

Workshop leaders

Maude Cannat is passionate about architectural heritage and has found in earth architecture a perfect link between traditional and contemporary construction. Rachel Méau explores low-impact building techniques using natural or recycled materials and has found in earth great qualities for contemporary architecture. Both are architects in France and have already participated and organised workshops in France and Africa.

The project is supported by the Nka Foundation, (Email).


For further information and to apply to take part, contact:

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