#urbanplanning #construction #architecture

I would like to share with you information/texts regarding the act of building and urban planning in Madagascar. And I prefer to start from the beginning: when you consider a construction or urban planning project, the first step is to check if your project is feasible. Our cities are subject to Urban Plans, and it’s obvious that many complaints circulate about the insufficient implementation of these planning tools.

The question is simple: who, in your opinion, should adhere to the Urban Plan? The answer is just as simple: everyone.

I direct you to an excellent work done by my former colleagues from the Ministry of Spatial Planning and Land Services (MATSF): the Territorial Observatory, accessible online at https://observatoire-territoire.mg/. If you have no intention of contacting an architect who would guide you through the preparatory steps for the project’s feasibility or if you plan to contact them afterward, I recommend this page to verify if your project complies with the Urban Plan. For more detailed information, I advise you to contact your municipality’s urban planning department within this Public Service, where qualified technicians can guide you, especially if your city’s information is not available on the website.

In 2023, severe fires are becoming more common across Malagasy cities, whether in squatter settlements or large commercial constructions, especially in buildings with imported materials. In these situations, firefighters are often blamed for their delayed response and lack of water, but the primary responsibility lies with property owners who haven’t adhered to the standards of the Building Code. Don’t take reckless risks by not consulting a professional, perhaps an architect? They can provide valuable information on topics like T.B.M. (Tous Bâtiments de Madagascar https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vssldyw850a5vd9/AADJuLoCD8u2-6mMCPA5k–ma?dl=0), a collection of construction regulations in force in Madagascar since 1958, as well as the revised Urban Planning and Housing Law in 2015 (https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/aapwpsyx4a085xyi1pu09/h?rlkey=9766i1j01awpe4oqd1tjoekvo&dl=0). Of course, you’ll also need to refer to the old 1963 text (https://www.dropbox.com/s/g0f92p02p6poaza/Mada%20-%20Code%20urbanisme%20habitat.pdf?dl=0) while waiting for the issuance of the Ministerial Order on General Construction Rules.

At this point, I raise a concern after skimming through the draft of this document. Since its publication seems to take a considerable amount of time, it might be wise to refine it by including sections on “construction materials, including their combustibility levels and ecological materials”, “building risk categories”, “Public Establishments (ERP)”, “fire safety”, and so on. In essence, I’m tossing this proposal out there like a message in a bottle. You never know what might happen. Apparently, even my posts can help some remember institutions’ anniversary dates.

I will conclude this #thread by reiterating once again the heart of all our problems: the absence of a recognized school offering architecture education accredited by the UNESCO-UIA Charter in Madagascar.

Is it really important for a country with over 28 million inhabitants to have such a school? Yes, unquestionably.

The procedure itself is not fundamentally complicated. The Malagasy Architects Association is criticized for “blocking through corporate lobbying” the admission of thousands of graduates from local schools issuing diplomas recognized by the State. However, none of these schools have been able to clearly establish a syllabus, a faculty, and thus a training program satisfying enough to meet the criteria set by the Charter. My post, https://purplecorner.com/pour-la-creation-dune-ecole-darchitecture-accreditee-par-lunesco-union-internationale-des-architectes-a-madagascar/, which highlights the feasibility of this commendable initiative, has been widely read, apparently 1919 times since 2022. Deep down in all our hearts, good-hearted and well-intentioned people, we all recognize that 60 architects, all trained abroad and members of the Malagasy Architects Association, are truly insufficient. It would require a genuine lobbying effort and a pooling of the best intentions, means, and resources. But if someone, somewhere, feels inspired to involve me in this matter: of course, I am available, let’s brainstorm, let’s connect our networks. No requirement states that a particular person is best suited to create this architecture school, and all scenarios are possible as long as we commit ourselves.

To this wish list, I would like to add my earnest hope, which I hope would be considered: that the school imparts primarily Malagasy education in the Malagasy language (although multilingualism is encouraged) so that the Malagasy mindset and culture can become the vehicles of this future champion of the technicality and technology of building and planning in Madagascar. I have had the pleasure of discovering the rich traditions and heritage that have shaped my practice and habits in recent years, and I will never revert from the conceptual choices in the process of creation and project management. These choices have become definitively rooted in my understanding of the essence of space, light, and materials unique to Madagascar. Even though 13 years in Canada gave me a real boost to master tools and technologies, I could never have reached this stage in my career without returning to my roots. It requires incredible energy and dedication to unlearn, and I wish it for all my colleagues in Practice, just as I hope that the future students of this long-awaited school will inspire us and make us very proud of them. They will be grounded in their convictions, their skills, and the desire to finally push this country towards the path of development.

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