Mariam Kamara Niger

2019 Prince Claus Laureate

Mariam Kamara (Niamey, Niger 1979)

Mariam Kamara uses architecture as a means to serve communities and improve lives. Although she acquired a Master’s degree in computer science and worked for seven years in IT, she became convinced she could achieve more for people through architecture and went back to school to become an architect. Her first built project in Niger was a housing complex designed to serve the city’s expanding population. It drew inspiration from pre-colonial traditions, rejecting high-rise towers in favour of compact 2- and 3-storey homes that offer both intimate, private spaces and communal areas. Kamara works closely with local professionals and craftspeople, adapting local building materials to create sustainable solutions. Her designs for public spaces give women in this dominantly Muslim culture more freedom of movement.

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Photo: Portrait Mariam Kamara. Courtesy Mariam Kamara