December 20, 2016

More than 80 Beninese students became honorary members of Wentworth Institute’s American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS).

AIAS T-shirts were distributed in early November at a talk given by US Fulbright Scholar and Wentworth Institute of Technology Professor John Stephen Ellis, AIA, at the American Cultural Center in Cotonou, Bénin. The November talk focused on the works of Burkina Faso architect Francis Kére. Subsequent talks, which will be held monthly, will introduce students and the public to new architecture in Africa, including the works by David Adjaye, Shigeru Ban, Aziza Chaouni, and Boston’s MASS Design Group.

The T-shirts were a gift from the WIT AIAS members to the African students with financial support from the Department of Architecture. The WIT AIAS, in conjunction with Mass Art, will be co-hosting AIAS FORUM 2016 – “Dare to be Revolutionary,” on the 60th anniversary of the American Institute of Architecture Students.

Merna Haddad serves as programming director on the FORUM Planning Team from WIT. She created the design for the t-shirts. “When I heard of the opportunity to design something for the students, I found it was a great chance to bring a piece of Boston and the work we are all so passionate about abroad. I selected a map of Boston as the background and the lettering was embedded with an architectural plan,” she said.

Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction Management, and the Department of Architecture are dedicated to global outreach, as exemplified by its numerous undergraduate travel programs, graduate global studios and a dedicated faculty engaged in global research and teaching.

Professor John Stephen Ellis, AIA and Beninese architect and WIT Alum Habib Meme are co-founders of l’Atelier des Griots, a non-profit international studio devoted to the study and implementation of low-tech ecological urban architecture and planning. L’Atelier des Griots is dedicated to the West African tradition of the griot – telling the many stories of the community through the medium of art, architecture and urbanism.