Official Omar Degan - AMA

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OfficialAMA

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Sunday 10 Jan 2021: Omar Degan - 3 PM GMT ( 10 AM EST)



Omar Degan was born and raised in Italy to Somali parents who fled the civil war. He studied architecture in Italy and Hong Kong before returning to Somalia in 2017, eventually opening his own architecture firm DO Architecture and Design.




Based in Mogadishu, the firm specialises in sustainability, emergency architecture, and post-conflict reconstruction. Degan previously worked on slum upgrade projects in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong where he learned first-hand the importance of participatory planning (involving the community in discussions), environmental considerations, and the use of local materials in rebuilding projects.




In 2020 Omar Degan published his first book 'Mogadishu through the eyes of an architect' to give those who have never visited the city the opportunity to get to know it through its most important buildings and monuments.

"Public space, especially in a post-conflict reconstruction context, it means a lot because it really helps the people to take ownership" - Omar Degan

Degan is a passionate advocate for creating public spaces which he believes will help with social inclusion, reconciliation, and peace-building in Somalia. He wants the Somali government to set aside some of Mogadishu's rapidly vanishing land for the creation of gardens, parks, libraries, and healthcare facilities. Currently, the only public space in Mogadishu is the beach and the only park is privately-owned.
 

Abdalla

Medical specialist in diagnosing Majeerteentitis
Prof.Dr.Eng.
VIP
Hi Omar, welcome.

Why are Somali homes so colourful from the outside? You'll see blue and yellow paintings on houses.
 

Duchess

HRH Duchess of Puntland, The Viscount of Garoowe
VIP
Welcome Omar. My questions for you are how have you incorporated local materials into your projects and what are some examples of uniquely Somali architecture?
 

Sol

?
What are your thoughts on the implementation of sustainable homes in Somalia (such as passive solar cooling/heating)? Also would you like to see more building regulations such as homes being a certain colour within a city and why haven't we seen such laws yet?
 
Asc,

What inspired you to become an architecture? Who did you look upto in this field ? Favourite projects you have done and would like to do in future ?

Regarding the Somali government signing the UNESCO world heritage convention what would you like to see listed ?
 
As an architecture student, is it a useful skill to take back home or are there still many dificulties in practising there? Its one of my dreams i hope to fulfill someday.
 
Asc Omar,

Is it possible to reconstruct Somali architecture from the past into modern world?
What challenges is there in redesigning existing homes in Somalia, especially ones in less urban areas?
What is the most effective and inexpensive way to innovate Somali homes?
 

OfficialAMA

Verified
Hi Omar, welcome.

Why are Somali homes so colourful from the outside? You'll see blue and yellow paintings on houses.
With the state the institutions have lost the control of the territory and this is true especially if we are talking about urban development , there is no one to enforce the urban regulation and everyone its free to use not only the private but also part of the public space. Colors are beautiful and they can be used in amazing combinations but overdoing it it’s not always the best thing to do.
 

OfficialAMA

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Hi omar,
What exactly is traditional somali architecture? What are some good examples.
We can divide the architecture of Somalia in 3 parts .

The nomadic architecture ( aqal somali as example )

The traditional settled architecture (Modul somali as example )

The costal architecture which is a mixture of Arabic, Swahili, Italian and Portuguese influence. ( Merka , barawe , Mogadishu, Eyl etch )
 

Grigori Rasputin

“No more your dad” “your mom loofs me”
Staff Member
Salaan sare walaalkiis!

your humble opinion, do you think that we can accomplish building my dream beachside mansion, like this one.
EADBEA0B-8EA8-416C-826F-85FA76114871.jpeg

Is it out of our reach due to the fact that we don’t have the material and to import it will cost anyone an arm and a leg

Secondly, is it even worth building magnificent structures if there’s no infrastructure to speak of?
 

OfficialAMA

Verified
As an architecture student, is it a useful skill to take back home or are there still many dificulties in practising there? Its one of my dreams i hope to fulfill someday.
I have probably been called architect 10 times in 1 year , the rest of the time I have been called engineering. This is to say that we are not still used to call the architects for most of the work , I leave the daily struggle to change this . Somalia is professionally speaking not an easy place , my advice for you is to work before in other places around the world if possible and gain experience and then come back to provide a serous professional input . Then you’ll be able not only to support the reconstruction process but you’ll also be able to provide great professional inputs
 

Manafesto

[Cali Saleebaan][Migiurtinia]
VIP
HalimoEnthusiast
Hi, Omar

I was wondering if there is was ever any distinctive and original architecture in our country and wasn't inspired by other civilizations and is solely ours ? Is it possible we can achieve one if there is none in the near future?
 

OfficialAMA

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What are your thoughts on the implementation of sustainable homes in Somalia (such as passive solar cooling/heating)? Also would you like to see more building regulations such as homes being a certain colour within a city and why haven't we seen such laws yet?
Let me tell you this , no one never changed the laws related to urban development of Somalia . The construction regulations are all in here but there are no efforts or interest to apply them . I feel that the biggest concern should not be that much the regulation but more for use to became more sensible about our built environment , climite change and so on because Somalia will soffer in the future even more if we don’t do something.
 

Jellal

East-End General 💯☔
Welcome, Omar.

Building in Mogadishu has it's risk so why don't you try to find work in another region of Somalia or a different country all together?
 

kickz

Engineer of Qandala
VIP
Hello Omar,

Do you have any projects upcoming with this government, if not what are some projects you want to do in Somalia personally?
 

OfficialAMA

Verified
Welcome, Omar.

Building in Mogadishu has it's risk so why don't you try to find work in another region of Somalia or a different country all together?
Life is risky . Plus I have faith and what is written from allah is out of my control anyway. However I work all over Somalia I travelled and worked from hargheisa to Kismayo and I still offfer my service for everyone inside and outside Somalia , I have in fact recently collaborate for a project in Brazil. To conclude Mogadishu is not as terrible as the world describe it . Far to be
 
Salam calaykum Omar,
Which role should public spaces/buildings have in Somali reconciliation? We have statues honoring prominent figures and organizations (the Sayid, Imam Gurey, Hawo Taako, SYL). Do you think the wider public would welcome a civil war memorial?
Do you have any concrete ideas for such a memorial (buildings, parks etc.) to commemorate the lives lost and educate current as well as future generations?
 
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