Localworks is a multi-disciplinary design and build collaborative, based in Kampala, Uganda, that specialises in the design and realisation of ecological architecture in East Africa.
The collaborative is made up of a number of design firms – including Studio FH Architects, Aquila Gallery, Equatorsun and Dudley Kasibante and Partners – who now offer integrated services under one roof.
Motivated in equal parts by idealism, pragmatism and professionalism, we have assembled a closely-knit team of building professionals – architects, interior and landscape designers, civil/structural and mechanical/electrical engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers – who together are committed to advancing green architecture in theory and in practice.
To our clients, Localworks represents a one-stop comprehensive construction consultancy with a proven track record of successfully delivering complex projects in difficult environments.
We want to design and build beautiful and functional buildings that are in harmony with their environment and meet our clients’ needs. To us, every client, every design brief and every location constitute a unique blend of requirements calling for an individual, tailor-made response. We consider our work as a process and view each stage of a project as equal in importance to the final outcome, each step along the journey is just as valuable to us as the destination. We are always on the lookout for intelligent and creative responses to the challenges posed by climate, economy, materials and skills, so our process begins with research and development that focuses on the innovative use of locally available materials, the prototyping and testing of eco-friendly construction techniques and the optimisation and customisation of appropriate technologies. This research is carried out by the very same designers and builders who put the new knowledge and experience to use in their daily work.
Working in an open, non-hierarchical studio atmosphere, we try to approach each project with no preconceived answers, no off-the-shelf solutions and no ‘signature style’. Instead, our (design) process centres around the most fundamental of (design) decisions to ensure our projects are in harmony with the environment we find ourselves working in; where we site a building, how we shape and orientate it, how we ventilate it and protect it from rain, the materials we use, the details we develop. This location-sensitive, adaptive design philosophy - nurturing inventive, local solutions - is our understanding of ‘ecological’ and it shapes everything we do.
Our clients often face the challenge of building to very low budgets in remote and inaccessible locations, and with this comes the added challenge of finding the time to deal with and coordinate diverse service providers. We help clients to bypass conventional procurement methods and their associated difficulties, working together with our clients throughout the lifetime of a project by offering a full scope of design and build services. We take full personal responsibility at a senior level, and our construction team works hand-in-hand with our design team to ensure that our buildings are realised as the designers intended and to the standards our clients expect - a seamless process from initial concept to carefully crafted and completed projects.
At Localworks, a completed project is not the end of our process however. Inventing and analysing innovative construction techniques, designing exemplary contextual architecture and delivering innovatively designed buildings to a high level of quality within programme and budget is not an end in itself to us. Because of the way we work, every project we undertake represents new learning and knowledge gained, and we want to share what we have learned along the way. We do this by properly documenting our research and making it publicly available; by collaborating with universities and offering research and/or work placements to students; and through our LocalworksTalks series of lectures and open forums, which are geared at providing a platform for a wider audience interested in appropriate, ecological architecture and construction.
The East African environment we operate in presents a unique set of challenges, from climate and terrain to economic and logistical considerations to available materials and skills. At Localworks however, we are of the view that these challenges do not represent a good enough excuse to settle for unimaginative designs or poor construction quality. We are guided by the belief that good architecture can make the world a better place, that well-conceived buildings delivered in a professional and transparent manner make a positive impact to client and community alike.