The GEN Z Series travels once again to Khartoum in Sudan from Mumbai, India to meet a very young and creative architect from Sudan. In the year 2021, Anfal Abuzar graduated from the University of Khartoum, Faculty of Architecture. Her design creations is truly impressive and of high international quality and standard. I am very confident of her bright future. She will definitely make a name for herself. She is currently learning the skills and tricks of the trade as a trainee architect at Gold Stone Engineering in Khartoum, Sudan.
It is a very interesting insight Anfal provided to me during her interview. In Sudan, parents, family elders and the society at large expect the children to pursue Medicine to become Doctors. I was awestruck by this insight! However, Anfal’s creativity lied elsewhere as she is inclined towards something bigger in life. Architecture chose Anfal Abuzar and here we are. She strongly believes that function is the first priority in the field of architecture. However, she emphasizes that an architect should never forget the aesthetic aspects along with the technicalities to create an architectural marvel.
Anfal is always exploring latest innovative construction and structural techniques to keep abreast with the latest development in the field of architecture. However, deep down she says one should never forget the cultural and traditional methods, which give ‘the’ identity of the individual’s background and upbringing. Truly wise advice, I must say. Anfal Abuzar talks to Johnny D about her exploration as an architect.
Your childhood ambition, did you always wanted to become an architect?
As a Sudanese child, I was always fed with the idea of becoming a doctor, from my mom, dad and the society as a whole. I used to just go with it until I was 15, when I saw a video of a body been cut open. I knew then that I can never cut a human being as a Doctor / Surgeon and the medical stream is not for me. So, I started to think about what I really want to be.
I found myself in geometry – as a rough form of architecture. It tested my imagination and creativity along with intelligence and hard work. I found ‘Architecture’ to be a perfect challenge for me. The field kept me wondering, dreaming and translate that into a physical form. It gave me the satisfaction of accomplishing what is needed in each project as a challenge.
Briefly describe your project.
Ta-Sety Archeological Museum is my graduation project. The project is an archeological museum specialized at the Kushite Kingdom – an ancient Sudanese civilization. It was one of the longest-lived civilizations anywhere in the world, and the earliest urbanized society of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Locating at ‘The Napatan Region – the Capital of Kush’, the project aims to revive the Civilization of Kush – Napata by connecting the archaeological sites to a tourist and educational center, thereby creating a flux of visitors and researchers, which will promote Sudan’s tourism industry and utilize our rich architectural historical sites.
The building’s main concept is to connect the indoor exhibitions to the archeological site to enhance the story telling of the Civilization. It is consisted of three main zones:
Exhibitions: It provides different halls for each period of the Kingdom, different exhibit methods, and variety of artifacts;
Educational: It provides a research center fully-equipped and prepared to study the upcoming findings, as well as an educational zone with library, lecture halls, labs;
Amenities and Services: The harsh nature of the site and its relatively remote from the city was treated with a careful way in the form of spaces – rest areas, restaurant, shops- and façade treatment.
What does ‘architecture’ means to you?
Architecture is meant to improve people’s life by creating an environment or space that is comfortable, beautiful as well as functional. It is the connection between art and science. It is standard for each one of us all over the world (smiles).
How has it influenced your life as an architecture student?
At the way I see the world, my growth as a person has become evident as an architecture student. With each project I design, I live the space, understand how it functions, its staff and their tasks and routine, learn about their field and discipline, along with the culture of the city and its development, the site needs, raising my awareness and respect to the world.
Which National or International architect has inspired you? Please specify as to why?
There are two architects I respect and adore the most:
Tado Ando: His respect to the nature, simple use of material and shapes to create masterpieces has impressed me greatly. He translates the need for architecture the best way, and I believe that is what architecture is all about.
Zaha Hadid: As an Arabic female architect who proved herself, Zaha Hadid’s style and breaking the society standards is an inspiration for every young female architect. I believe she is a role model to every female architect in the world.
How has the pandemic changed your learning process since the last two years?
It has introduced me to the remote education, which was quite challenging in the beginning, because the communications between the teaching staff and the students was a little harder than before, thereby creating a gap between what is meant and what is understood. However, with the help of different software and applications, we got through it with a minimum effect possible.
What are your views on Climatic catastrophes and how architects of the future (your generation) will overcome the herculean challenge?
The construction techniques have been developing massively in the past Century and with each issue an alternative solution raises up. Smart, environment-friendly, sustainable buildings can overcome the challenges.
Please write briefly about your university and course.
The University of Khartoum used to be the first University in Sudan. After the pandemic and the revolution in the country, its rank got a little lower. The architectural course aims to provide the main knowledge and skills for students. The design studio covers 12 different projects targeting different aspects of the design- form, function, circulation, technical solutions, concept, environment and construction techniques – along with the subjects: structure, construction, history, theory of architecture, climatology, acoustics, survey, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning etc.
Image Courtesy: Anfal Abuzar