Cascieri Lectureship in the Humanities: Rahel Shawl

Architecture and Engagement

Image courtesy of KORA Images

  • 04/12/2018

  • 6 PM 

  • Cascieri Hall

    Boston Architectural College

    320 Newbury Street, Boston

  • communications@the-bac.edu

  • Free and open to the public

  • Design Community, Lectures, Special Events

The Boston Architectural College invites the community to join us for the 2018 Cascieri Lectureship in the Humanities, Architecture and Engagement, by Rahel Shawl Zelleke, founder of Raas Architects, on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at 6 pm in Cascieri Hall.



In the past few decades, many countries in Africa have been undergoing rapid urbanization processes resulting in unprecedented growth in infrastructure and building. This has created a challenge for the construction industry, which cannot expand the necessary knowledge and skills at the same rate, resulting in fast, chaotic, and often substandard design and construction practices.

As an Ethiopian architect working in this ecosystem, Rahel Shawl strongly advocates for architects to become leading voices and active orchestrators of positive impact within the construction sector, contributing actively to the health and wellbeing of communities, cities, and the built environment. Through examples of her design work and community engagement, this lecture will provide a view of how she seeks to sustain an architecture firm based on values of good practice and collaboration. Engagement, she proposes, most productively materializes in collaborative design work with local and international colleagues, partners and clients; through design practices where aspects of home, place, and identity are important; in conversation with young people that promote and share architectural knowledge; and through passionate advocacy for equity in design practices.

Rahel ShawlAbout Rahel Shawl

Rahel Shawl was born and educated in Ethiopia, where she co-founded Abba Architects in 1992, and founded Raas Architects in 2004. Her extensive local, as well as international collaborative work, is designed and executed with traditional and contemporary architectural approaches committed to the environment and its users. Rahel has received numerous accolades, including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2007 for her work as architect of record on the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Addis Ababa; the Association of Ethiopian Architects (AEA) best Architecture Piece Award in 2017 for her collaborative works on the South African Embassy in Addis Ababa; and the Abyssinia Award for Social Engagement in the fields of Architecture and Engineering in 2017. She was awarded a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2017, and has received various recognitions from the Association of Ethiopian Architects. Her passion to inspire and share knowledge in higher education, in schools of architecture, and around young professionals, led to her being cited as a role model in Temsalet, a book featuring the stories and photographs of 64 outstanding Ethiopian Women as Role Models for Young Girls in Ethiopia. Rahel was appointed as Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for "Zer Ethiopia" in 2014, an NGO promoting Young Ethiopian Girls in Education.

Rahel Shawl during an onsite visit

Rahel Shawl during an onsite visit

Royal Netherlands Embassy addition

Royal Netherlands Assembly addition