Student’s African village design wins award

An architecture student who helped design a camp for some of Angola’s poorest communities and who is now working on a self-sustaining village in the Congo has won a national award from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Colin Tomsett, a University of Portsmouth student studying for the Diploma in Architecture, went back to basics and designed new buildings on site in Africa without a computer or running water and on some days without food.

Architecture student Colin Tomsett talks with his client in Angola

Architecture student Colin Tomsett talks with his client in Angola

He was part of Engineering Ministries International (eMI), a non-profit Christian charity of architects, engineers and other design professionals who donate their skills to help those less well off.

Colin, 23, won the RIBA Barrington Smith Travel Award for his work on the development of a project to build a self-sustaining village in the Congo for widows and children left orphaned by Aids and war.

He said: “It was a steep learning curve working on such a big project in a developing country – we had to learn about a new culture, local construction techniques and check what materials were available. I had no laptop while I was there so had to gain a real understanding of the site but it was great going back to basics and using a pen and pencil.”

Two other architecture students at Portsmouth, Neal Collins and Simon Astridge, have also shown great promise this year and have jointly been awarded the RIBA South Prize for their work on the Sustainability Centre, Clanfield, and Stokes Bay, Gosport.

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