ArchNet, in partnership with the MIT Media Lab and Professor Charles Correa, have developed an architecture competition in the form of a charrette. The competition is to design a Computer Clubhouse geared towards use by all members of the community, but particularly young people of ages 10-18, in a tropical climate in East Africa. The Computer Clubhouse project is an international network of community technology centers for youth from economically disadvantaged communities. The Computer Clubhouse is to be situated within the context of a school, the Aga Khan Academy in Kilindini, operated by the Aga Khan Education Services in Mombasa, Kenya.
The project is a competition involving five schools of architecture from around the world for the design of a Computer Clubhouse. These schools are:
American University of Sharjah; Istanbul Technical University; Misr International University; University of Liverpool; and, University of Mexico.
This Competition seeks to expand the role of the Clubhouse to not only empower youths from economically disadvantaged communities, but also provide evening activities for adults in the form of classes, workshops, and other activities. Although working at different times of the day, adults and youth will come to share the same spirit of collaborative creativity through the environment and tools provided by the Computer Clubhouse building.
The Aga Khan Academy in Kilindini is located on a southwestern promontory of Mombasa Island. Already revealing the intricate outlines of a Swahili village, the 4.1-hectare campus will integrate classrooms, libraries, state-of-the-art science and language laboratories, playing fields and a swimming pool into a fully networked, Internet-enabled academic environment. The Academy is scheduled for completion in September of 2003. Landscaped amidst ancient baobab trees, overlooking the Indian Ocean, the school complex is designed, like others under development, by leading international and local architects.
Computer Clubhouse of the Aga Khan Academy (Variant)
Cooke, Stina, Natalie Rusk and Mitchel Resnick. 2003. The Computer Clubhouse: Technological Fluency in the Inner City
Ever since the personal computer was invented in the late 1970s, there have been concerns about inequities in access to this new technology (e.g., Piller, 1992). In an effort to address these inequities, some groups have worked to acquire computers for inner city schools. Other groups have opened community-access centers, recognizing that schools are not the only (or necessarily the best) place for learning to occur. At these community-access centers, members of inner-city communities (youth and adults alike) can use computers at little or no charge.
The Computer Clubhouse (organized by The Computer Museum in collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory) grows out of this tradition, but with important differences. At many other centers, the main goal is to teach youth basic computer techniques (such as keyboard and mouse skills) and basic computer applications (such as word processing). The Clubhouse views the computer with a different mindset. The point is not to provide a few classes to teach a few skills; the goal is for participants to learn to express themselves fluently with new technology.