At the core of any civilization, architecture plays a great part in cultural, religious and historical perceptions of society.
Architecture has the ability to invoke different feelings, moods and the overall state of mind, giving a sense of togetherness.
Tapping into the thoughts of young architect Donald Luwaga, he gives us an insight into his journey with architecture so far.
Who is Donald Luwaga?
I’m a 26 year old is Architect in training, and the most recent addition to the FBW architect community. I haven’t officially graduated with my degree in architecture at Makerere University, but that can’t hold me back from dipping my toes in the practice.
How did you get to join at FBW architects?
I had always wanted to work here because they do exceptional work. After my final year project presentation at Makerere, one of the judges on the panel worked at FBW and was impressed with my presentationon exploring the potential for Water transport in Kampala. She gave me her business card and asked me to come in for an interview. However I couldn’t follow up on the prospective job because I took on an internship with the Renzo Piano Foundation in Italy. When I got back, I picked up from where I left off, and here we are today.
What inspired you into architecture?
I draw creative inspiration from various facets of my life. As a child, I used to visit my grandfather’s workshop in Nakasero. He was an engineer, and the first time I saw blue print drawings, I knew that was what I wanted to do. My father also instilled in me the discipline of hard work. My mother is very creativity and personally designed the family home, and my older brother is an architect by profession.
Have you worked on any projects?
I worked on a Residential at a conceptual level, a warehouse, and a lodge project.
What would you say is the major hindrance in architectural development in Uganda?
Most local architects do not seem to see the value of mentoring young architects. This is a stunted approach to Ugandan architecture. Thinking beyond the obvious and recycled ideas should not be the way of architecture for Uganda but rather incorporating new and fresh Afrocentric ideas to produce something that people appreciate.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Originally my goal way to start my own practice. But I realized when I got here that there is room for architects to grow. So in five years, I see myself as the head of the architectural department with a master’s degree in hand.
Does this goal seem realistic after only 5 years?
It’s very possible to go up the ranks. I have many friends who graduated way before me and they are still working at the same level they got in. However FBW’s system is based on progressive development which is supported and encouraged by the directors. There is growth on both individual and company level which is evident even in the limited time I have been at the company.
What makes you different from other architects?
I always have a plan for the next step. During my internship, I got the opportunity to be mentored by one of the best architects in Italy. From him I learnt that if you’re building a brand you can’t afford to focus on yourself but rather surround yourself with people that have different skill sets to deliver the best.