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On Continuity and Identity


Masters thesis
Promotor: Ignaas Back

Generous architecture encourages people to create new meaning, with a focus on remembering the past and embracing the future. The design studio aims to safeguard and reactivate natural knowledge, or wisdom as a generator of meaning in a globalised, but superdiverse world. Creating physical spaces in remote rural area’s momentarily under stress is our core activity.

Although as architects we are essentially dealing with material culture, we feel the need to activate and invigorate the often intangible and ineffable elements of local traditions, rather than collecting, inventorying and exhibiting buildings, styles and objects in an aim to safeguard the memory of traditional and sustainable ways. We therefore believe that it is precisely the continuity of a living tradition that identifies people and creates a sense of belonging.

We currently work in Nepal (‘post-school’ project), the Democratic Republic of Congo (‘des centres généreux’), Greenland (Inuit village of Ittoqqortoormiit) and Peru (ecological village in the valley of Pisac).

View the studio presentation as pdf here.


Sofia A. Heinen: Soil & Soul

The content of this paper is based on a field trip to the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal in February 2020. Under the overarching topic “on continuity and identity”, this master’s dissertation investigates the damages following the April 2015 Nepal earthquake. In particular, this paper explores how ongoing reconstruction efforts are influencing the country’s development processes. […]


Gillis Ide: Reusing local resources and vernacular design elements in a contemporary design strategy

The aim of this master’s thesis is to highlight the importance of vernacular architecture, traditional knowledge and resources in relation to building resilience in Nepal, while highlighting the impact of modernization on that resilience and architectural diversity. The building tradition passed on from generation to generation is slowly being modified by the import of new […]


Başak Işık: The Misplaced Waste of Nepal – Engaging the Community to Create a Sustainable Waste Management

Nepal is one of the many developing countries that are facing challenges in implementing an effective waste management program. The flaws of the system have severe negative impact on health, ecosystem and urban life. The reasons underlying the problem include the lack of social awareness, as well as the lack of technical and human resources. […]


Saar Bruneel: From cultural patterns to a design strategy

The aim of this master’s thesis is to develop a flexible and adjustable design strategy, based on cultural patterns that are present in the Nepalese culture and architecture. The resulting design strategy was applied in order to create a learning and living environment for blindly impaired children on two different locations within two environmentally different, […]


Marie Moens: Opening up the microcosm

A reflection on the limits of Nepali women’s national involvement despite their economic contribution. Namaste. If it were not for the inspirational women I met during my staying in Nepal, this thesis could never have existed. If it were not for their openness and inclusion in wich they allowed me to explore both positive and […]


Agathe de Coninck: The water in Nepal: Adaptive architecture towards the seasonal flooding

The aim of this master’s thesis is to develop a design strategy towards the most important resource in Nepal: the water. Although Nepal is considered as one of the world’s most water rich countries, with more than 6000 rivers, less than 7% can be used in the daily life. The first part of this research […]


Raphael Pauschitz: Dharmaśālā: A Significance for Ancient Modules

Dharmaśālā: A Significance for Ancient Modules. Or: Learning from the Public Rest House. This master’s thesis was prepared within the framework of Studio Nepal which encouraged us to study living traditions in Nepal. Based on this study, it was required to develop a design strategy and apply it to two sites. During my trip to […]


Carlos Cardenas: Architecture in a city without architects

Taking advantage of self-densification Architecture in a City Without Architects is the master’s thesis for the Master in Sustainable and Resilient Architecture, in the framework On continuity and Identity, which aims to cooperate with Nepal’s government in the reconstruction process after the devastating earthquakes of 2015 that affected that country. Focusing in Kathmandu’s city since […]


Dagna Kolodynska: Engaging Square

Engaging Square is a master’s thesis that aims to introduce a 12-20 year master plan for Shree Janahit Basic School in Ratomate, Nepal. The design is to engage the local community and create new collective spaces by division of one existing common square, but also to build new, earthquake-proof school structures, with improved ventilation, acoustics […]


Lucas Renson: From rope to roadway

Challenges of transportation in mountainous Nepal: Rethinking cable car terminals This reflection paper and thesis project is an end product of my 6 weeks internship in Nepal and report paper ‘The post-school: rewriting old stories’. The design studio ‘On Continuity and Identity’ starts from the earthquake of April-May 2015 which has left a big impact […]