Meet the Founder of Migrating Cultures, Brandon Rogers. Brandon is a designer from Orlando, Florida – USA and he builds homes with modern, creative and sustainable eco-design solutions. Jumia House Ghana interviewed him to get more insight into current projects his brand is undertaking in the country.
Jumia House Ghana (GH): What is Migrating Culture?
Brandon (B): Migrating culture is a creative design campaign with a five member youth development team. Right now, it’s more about building a brand than a company and what we are trying to showcase is sustainable techniques of building. We strive to be an all encompassing brand; it’s really about expressing creativity and not just architecture. Basically, we are sponsored by an NGO, Hope for Africa which focuses on promoting sustainable village approaches that can create more opportunities for rural inhabitants. Migrating Culture is currently assisting through the research and development of various eco-building techniques that can be applied towards better sustainable community development projects.
GH: Can you explain further what you mean by creative design campaign?
B: I am artist and my medium of art is architecture. For me, it works because I am a technical and analytical person, so there is the science side that then justifies my creative endeavours. At the onset of the design process, we all sit down and collaborate to create beautiful spaces and better environments that are more cohesive.
GH: What is Migrating Culture’s focus?
B: Our focus is on rural development, we believe the perception of the villages is quite negative whereas our villages are technically our homes, and thus it’s not good to look down on them. Also to grow and see the fruit of our own labour, coupled with the abundance of raw talent and natural resource in the countryside I believe the village is a great platform to work within. Again with my background in architecture, one of the things I believe in is that we are supposed to respond to the environment and not only transplant ideas and desire to build them on the ideal flat site; rather you design a house responding to the land and it’s environment. Migrating Culture’s main focus is on housing and community development – before we can do any skyscrapers, we believe we need to build some small houses. We have started with house designs and the idea is, if we can find better ways to build homes, then we can build better communities and the key is to develop sustainable communities that offer better opportunities for the inhabitants so they are not motivated to migrate to the larger cities.
GH: Since you started your campaign, how many structures have you constructed?
B: As far as built eco-houses, we have about four structures, varying in sizes. The first structure was very small; we started with the common one room space. It’s the same size as others in the village areas but on this one we infused modern design and creative ideas so that it would be a beautiful space. We wanted to re-design the common mud building, in a modern way and maintain building it upon the indigenous techniques of the area.
GH: What was the initial response when you put up those structures in the rural areas?
B: The initial response was interesting because a lot of people did not understand what I was doing. I had the vision in my head, I designed it on paper and I already knew what it was going to be but a lot of the people did not have a clue of what I was doing. When I started using the stones and the laterite soil with these methods, it was uncommon to them. A lot of people know of the conventional technique of building with concrete blocks which they believe it’s stronger and often a sign that you are better in life because it costs more. That is the stigma of building with mud and here I was, someone who had come back from the West and moved here to build with mud and they were very confused. It wasn’t until we finished the first structure then the response really changed; people loved it because it was simple and they loved the design, they loved the idea and that was really what got the excitement on.
GH: What are some of the challenges facing Migrating Culture?
B: One of the challenges is funding. We are young and we hope that one day we will be afforded the opportunity to build on a larger scale; however that will take some serious funding, either through government sponsorship or other types of sponsorship, which would allow us to take it to the next level.
GH: What will be success for Migrating Culture?
B: Success for Migrating Culture involves building more houses for people to live in and watching how they interact with them. We understand that there is a lifetime of work and that what we are doing is not going to redefine or reshape our entire community or even rural populations immediately. But we believe if we can plant a seed which is going to take root, then this concept can grow and we can begin to build better communities that will strengthen our own cultural and traditional sense.