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A port+ folio Documenting an evolution in design and architectural understanding

The conflict between art and science only exists to those who see the world in a linear manner and not it’s cyclical true form. Architects or Master builders knew this better than many combining the intricate patters of nature abstracting these to create art that was then materialised to a physical form. It is this flexibility that draws me to architecture the endless challenge and the varied discipline’s that it encompasses. In my work I have tried to show this range and aim to continue acquiring the skills that will enable to do so. This portfolio documents design works I have taken under courses offered at the Ball state University’s CAP programme, privately commissioned works and personal initiatives. It is perhaps through these that I may paint a picture of the spirit I hope to retain in my future works. Alexandre Mballa-Ekobena TEL: +1 202 320 1969 (USA) +237 94053896 (Cameroon) +243 997933646 (RDC) EMAIL:

Photo graphy Visual notes Builts script

Photo graphy

Photography can be a very pure form of art. It captures a moment and lets the viewer imagine what brought it about. It also helps reinforce what you want to get your viewers to imagine. In my photography I have aimed to capture day to day moments and spaces in a simple but powerful manner.

1. Isa

2. Panaroma

3. click

4. Papi

Visual notes

Visual notes are part of the design process that often is overlooked yet it from here that 90% of the work really occurs. My visual notes stem from analysing the character of buildings in Chicago, to lynch maps for a project at the white river.

During the course of a trip to Chicago I came to appreciate a new form of documenting my thoughts and observations, Visual note taking. This form of documentation lends to a whole new approach in understanding a problem or merely appreciating a solution to one.

Angelic luck

3. Flight to the imagination

Alphabet Soup shirt designs



Moving from the conceptual 2D form to the tangible 3D form is one of design most rewarding gifts as we see a thought materialise before us. This built spaces and voids captivate the applicable part of art and design.

water chair

With our site located South of white river boulevard, this unit provided us an opportunity to use various concepts we have learned throughout the semester in an encompassing manner. With my client in the hospitality profession I felt it would be fitting to make my structure a restroom beyond the norm.

Study model 1

Study model 2

north elevation

north section

The Lu, restroom, toilet, little corner or the water closet are used by all but often very hidden. Often poorly designed as we associate them to a space we shouldnt stay in for a prolonged time. My big idea was turning this around and using this very intimate moment to provide one with a new and surreal experience. By combining areas of horizontal compression with sudden release in a vertical space the water chair is a gem we stumble as we wine through a maze of pillars that recall a forest.

The Uitgespreid Client : Theo Lansen

Drawing inspiration from the folds of a bird’s wings, a kinetic structure is created. Serving primarily as a studio with an arena for his strandbeest the structure itself can be folded and bent to a wide range of configurations amongst which an enclosed stage which can serve as a private studio with balcony.

eko bena -

Desertification is an issue faced by many African states bordering the Sahara. The Sahara is estimated to grow by as much as a meter a year. Stretching from Senegal to Djibouti an initiative first proposed by Burkina-Faso’s former

president Thomas Sankara and eventually launched in 2005 by former Nigerian president Olusegun obasanjo to green the desert. By creating a green wall 8000KM long by 15km wide made up of local vegetation the deserts encroachment will be ceased and with time the forest will in turn take back the desert. EKO-BENA will ultimately serve as a physical structure that will accompany aid and ultimately be encompassed by the green wall. By serving as a simple multipurpose tunnel

will serve as an area were resilient trees which will serve as a buffer will be planted

is the zone of communication

will serve as an area for smaller less resilient plants and crops.

The structure would be build using glazed adobe adapting a method developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili. The light nature of the material also eliminates the need for an invasive foundation. The simple form of the structure and its modular form gives it an additive quality making it fully functional prior to it’s completion. Each peace can be easily built, replaced and manufactured locally. The core will serve primarily as a means of communication but due to its simple nature will allow a variety of activities to occur such as a small market or a place of repose. The structure enables moisture to form and be retained, aiding vegetation to grow and protecting the users from the extreme heat.

Pilkësh The city of Muncie has had like all cities experienced a cyclical trend in its time line. Founded by the Lenape tribe, the city went from an industrial boom, to the decline of it’s manufacturing industry and an ensuing emigration. The Pilkësh transit hub aims to give a look at a future Muncie not as a thriving metropolis but a vibrant middle town that appreciates it history whilst looking to the future.

delaware county


A reoccurring problem observed

The transit hub uses open plan

downtown were due to its

principles to enable the space to

inefficient, confusing and often

be easily reorganised. On the south

inconsistent streets. The problem

side of the tracks lies the cities

stemming from puzzling one way

information centre, a bike rental

streets to inconsistent intersections.

shop and the ‘Industrial’ themed children’s park.

For the master plan we aimed to primarily activating the southern

To the East of the track there is an

part of town as well as integrating

open garden. The entire building

South side Muncie. We also

pays key attention to light. Using

improved circulation flow and by

translucent concrete, screens and

regulating the gird system and by

reflective aluminium panels to play

redirecting the rails in manner that

with the element.

minimized little unusable ‘islands’ between rails

In the design of the transit station I felt it was key to captivate and abstract the values history and Identity of Muncie. The peach flower was used to create the pattern on the aluminium screen. By enabling the screen to slide we can recall barn doors we are reminded of the strong agrarian identity of Delaware county. We also create a sense of weightlessness whilst simultaneously creating a semi enclosed space. The design bridges both sides of the track physically in the language of it landscape and visually


to have travelled in many countries that are deemed Less economically developed and/or third world, I wanted to seize the opportunities offered to me through the CAP program to construct more appropriate architecture in these countries. With Cameroon, my home country at the forefront. Often these countries are treated as charity cases and it’s my strong believe that by creating viable business’ as opposed to donations; that these countries can truly develop. Using appropriate technology and by maintaining the cultural identity of these very diverse places, I would like to bring my set of skills back to the third world, even if not in Africa as these are the places that not only offer the greatest opportunities and challenges but they are also the ones that need it the most. Buildings such as The Great Mosque of Djenné I feel brilliantly encompassed how architects can contextualise a design not just through the form and the general shape of the building but also through the use of appropriate material for the construction. The Great Mosque Djenné most impressive feat is that of having a true positive cultural impact. Built out of mud bricks and standing as the biggest structure built entirely from earth the Mosque has been well integrated in the local culture as every year for it’s maintenance, a big ceremony is held. It is an opportunity to truly see the role of a building beyond its four walls; it is for this cultural impact and the uniqueness of its design that I hold it in high regard.


Ask why

As a person who has been fortunate enough

Whilst Architects such as Francis Kere who are able to truly learn and listen to the culture he is surrounded by as opposed to hearing and dictating what is appropriate for them encompass the character and approach I would like to have as an architect. I do however realize that as an architect to become established will take time and for this reason I also plan to get a minor in real-estate and this summer will be able to get my Indiana license. This will give me a versatile frame to work in and help me better comprehend the financial part of a project which interests me greatly too. I have for the past year in the program attempted to show this values in all my projects and strive to push myself beyond the boundaries in attempt to better myself and hence be able to face bigger challenges .

Educational History


2007- 2008: Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa (UWCSA) (Mbabane, Swaziland) August 2004 - May 2006: Machabeng College, International School of Lesotho (Maseru, Lesotho) August 2002 - May 2004: Lusaka International Community School (LICS) (Lusaka, Zambia) September 2000 - May 2002: Braeburn School (Nairobi, Kenya) Language Proficiency (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) English: Spoken and Written- Native/ Bilingual Proficiency (Level C1) French: Spoken and Written- Fluent (Level B2) Qualifications • 6th January 2009, International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA. • April 2006, International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) Work/ Volunteering Experience July 2007, Team manager: Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA 24 hour run The 24 hour run is a event that occurs every two years at Waterford Kamhlaba aimed at raising funds for various community service projects such as Young Heroes and SOS. Individuals can form a team and by finding sponsors who donate money relative to the number of laps ran by individuals in the team. The event lasts 24 hours as runners for each team continuously run in shifts. For this event along with two colleagues, we created and managed a team. I was in charge of recruiting and designing the team shirts , organising running shifts and ensuring that the teams progress was recorded.

September 2007 – present, Cofounder: 212 soul session 212 Soul Session was a project by myself and three colleagues, initiated to serve as a bridge between the visual and the musical arts. As one of the three founders of 212 Soul Session I took responsibility for the designing and the publicity for the brand and in turn executing its marketing. This was achieved through the production of posters and short animations for the brand that combined visual appeal and a specific marketing approach. By also marketing the brand through T-shirts we were able to make revenue to invest in different parts of the project such as its website. November 2007- November 2008, Chief Editor: Ink on Fire (IOF) Magazine Ink on fire is an Independent school magazine at Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa [UWCSA]. It serves as a formal channel for members of the UWCSA comprising of but not exclusive to; staff, students and parents to voice themselves. In November 2007 I took over the Magazine as its new chief editor. This position required much leadership and innovation. Prior to its takeover the magazine was printed on paper and operating at a loss as it received substantial subsidies from private individuals. As chief Editor and Head of Design the magazine was then re-launched and re-branded in CD format. Digital media propagated three major changes: more design and artistic freedom, lower production costs and improved quality and quantity of its content. As production costs came down to 5 ZAR and the Magazine was sold at 10 ZAR we made 100% profit with every issue. Restructuring the format of the magazine itself also aided in an increase of 36% in its circulation. I then later aimed to increase productivity and team moral by first restructuring the team. The IOF team was partitioned into seven departments: Events, Finance, Marketing and Advertising, Editorial team, Physical resources, Articles collection and allocation, and the Design team. Each department was assigned a Head who was then given the freedom of choosing their team as was given full responsibility for it. By decentralizing power sector was far more productive as individuals were empowered. This drove the team to be far more effective than the previous system where the chief editor was in charge of all, a lack of transparency and allocation of task often left the editors overwhelmed, created much inefficiency as well as promoted poor team spirit as individuals didn’t feel like they had much of a role in the magazine. January 2009, Intern: Ogilvy Novocomm (Madagascar) This internship was my introduction in to advertising in a formal and well structured frame. During this internship I mainly worked on campaigns for TELMA a phone network provider in Madagascar. Although the work wasn’t particularly challenging I learned a lot about the limitations and social difficulties one may face in a conservative environment.

February – April 2009, Intern Ogilvy and Mather (Kenya) During the course of this internship, I learned more about different strategies used in advertising varying form one of a campaign aimed at educating the public to that of the conceptualization of a Brand. As Kenya is a far less conservative region in advertising as well as rapidly developing nation in Africa, the restrictions on advertising content was far less, campaign were more challenging and versatile. My work was focused on desktop publishing as well as conceptualization. As the internship progressed, I was put on more challenging projects such as a campaign for IOM an NGO who aimed this campaign at educating primarily IDP’s but also the general population on the reality of forced labour. This campaign had for objective, to show how one can get tricked into it a fictitious job and find near slaves in a (often but not always) foreign country. Due to the scale of the campaign, I was able to appreciate and learn about the variety of tools one could use to target an audience. I then went on to design the companies credential booklet. May – August 2009, Intern Nikolic Architects (South Africa) This internship was very much an observational, learning experience. During the course of it I was fortunate to see different stages of the construction of a building from the brainstorming to the materialization. The human and communication element of the profession I learned was far more important than I thought. Although my limited knowledge of architecture was more out of passion than education, being surrounded by working architects who where willing and able to teach me about the profession in practice was very beneficial and it has very guided my decision to later study in the field. Present – IFC Delegate and Historian for the Epsilon Omega Chapter of Sigma Chi In this Position I have had an opportunity to not only be a member of the Greek community but I have also been able to see it not only from an individual fraternity but as a bigger organization which integrates other Greeks the Office of student life and the greater student body as a whole in an effort to better the community.

Designing commission: August 2008, Swazi Gold Logo design - This involved deriving a concept for the brand as well as an advertising poster. October – November 2008, The Curios Ape Book cover – In collaboration with the author Bob Forrester I designed book cover. Computer Literacy: Coherent in Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite (CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4) Adobe Illustrator (CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4) Adobe InDesign (CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4) Cambridge International Diploma in Computer Studies: • Communication • Data Collection and Processing • Basic Web Designing • Integration and Data Output • Business Charts • Presentation Authoring These skills along with basic troubleshooting have been applied to both Microsoft and Open Office on Windows (2003, XP, NT and 2007) and Linux systems respectively.

Hobbies: Graphic designing, screen printing, football, hockey, literature and music. References: Gil Kemami Managing Director Ogilvy and Mather Advertising Brano Nikolic Managing member Nikolic Architects +27 114651027 Bob Forrestor Author of ‘The Curious Ape’ Ramila Patel Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA Head of Visual Art Department +268 4220866 TJ Hall Sigma Chi Epsilon Omega Chapter Advisor

TEL: +1 202 320 1969 (USA) +237 94053896 (Cameroon) +243 997933646 (RDC) EMAIL: grafikolectiv

A port folio - Alexandre Mballa-Ekobena  

First Year Arch Undergraduate portfolio

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