Architecture alumnus Aboubacar Komara and current Master’s student Matt Turlock will be pitching their low-income, sustainably built housing project as part of the Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day on April 24 at 5 p.m. in Blum Hall on Berkeley’s campus.
Their “Big Idea,” Kaloum Bankhi, focuses on the construction of a durable and culturally appropriate housing unit for residents in Guinea. The concept was conceived by Komara following an architecture studio prompt to design sustainable and adaptive one-room dwellings. The project was awarded first place in the "Art and Social Change" category, and the group is now competing for the overarching award.
In recognition of his vision, Aboubacar was awarded the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize, which funds the advancement of exceptional student work after graduation. Komara put his $25,000 prize money towards the project, which he sees as a transformative concept for an area stricken by poverty, overpopulation and a lack of proper sanitation.
In the summer of 2018, the Kissosso neighborhood in Conakry, Guinea welcomed a home clad entirely in bright green corrugated metal — the first of its kind — a prototype for what Komara hopes will soon be hundreds of low-cost, sustainably built homes for some of Conakry’s most vulnerable populations.
As part of the Big Ideas Contest, Komara and the Kaloum Bhanki team (listed below) will pitch their project in competition with six other teams from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced and Makerere University for a $5,000 award.
The Big Ideas Contest launched at UC Berkeley in 2006 to catalyze and support an interdisciplinary and diverse network of student entrepreneurs to develop game-changing innovations.
The Kaloum Bhanki Big Ideas Team
Aboubacar Komara, Project Coordinator
B.A. in Architecture and Minor in Urbanism in Developing Countries, 2018
Guinean native Aboubacar Komara is well situated to design for the cultural needs of Kaloum. Over the past year, he has led a team of fifteen local university students in research and construction of the initial phases of the Kaloum Bankhi Project. Aboubacar will continue to work with the community to launch the Big Idea.
Carmen Durrer, Partner Outreach and Impact Monitoring
Bachelor of Economics, 2019
Sciences Po Paris exchange student Carmen Durrer’s focus on economic theory has been applied to the Kaloum slum economic environment. Carmen will continue to focus on partnerships, bringing more groups in to support Kaloum Bankhi and evaluating the impact of changes brought to Kaloum.
Matt Fairris, Finance Lead
Master of City Planning, 2019
California resident Matt Fairris’s experience with community development and affordable housing finance led to a robust analysis of the social and financial innovations for the slums of Kaloum. He is eager to continue working with the Kaloum Bankhi team as they build support for improving the overall quality of life for all Kaloum residents.
Matt Turlock, Team Lead
Master of Structural Engineering, Master of Architecture, 2019
Canadian student Matt Turlock’s professional project management experience has been instrumental to the coordination of the Kaloum Bankhi team. He is eager to help optimize the design and construction process while working to balance and bring together the diverse elements of the project.