Abel Omeiza + Luxia Yang


In the summer of 2018 with the support of the University of Manitoba faculty of architecture and the Bill Allen Travel scholarship, a study of urbanization in coastal west Africa was carried out. The study focused of the Lagos, Nigeria and an informal settlement called Makoko.

Urbanization is a global phenomenon and it has been taking place since the time men were still hunter-gatherers. Today cities across the world face challenges of matching population influx to the existing infrastructure. The developing world, Africa, South America and parts of Asia face some of its most dangerous consequences, resulting in the rise of slums and Informal Settlements. The growing Global inequality highlights some of the most radical and ingenious ways man has adapted to the environment and available resources.

Abel is a second-year master’s International student from Nigeria, working towards the completion of his design thesis titled: “PLUG INFRASTRUCTURE” – a hub for sustainable development.


People travel the world to enjoy beautiful scenery, admire ruins from hundreds and thousands of years ago, visit villages, temples and modern buildings in metropolises – Southern China is one of those places that contains all these experiences. However, it seems like today in modern development, traditional Chinese architecture has retreated into part of the ancient civilization as a cultural symbol, only used to remember the long history. It exists as part of nostalgia and has become a tribute to the tourism industry. Yaodong (窑洞) housing is one of these hidden gems of traditional Chinese architecture, some now preserved as cultural heritage and tourist attraction. Like many vernacular architectures, Yaodong has been serving the purpose of habitat for generations, sustained for hundreds of years. However, this dwelling typology is challenged by rapid urbanization and recent dramatic socioeconomic changes.

In the summer of 2018, with support from Faculty of Architecture of University of Manitoba and the Bill Allen Research Scholarship (Research), a field study of vernacular Yaodong dwellings was conducted by visiting rural villages on the Loess Plateau of China in its two adjacent provinces: Shanxi (山西) and Shaanxi (陕西). This presentation will take you to the buildings, the cultural context, the land, and people among the hills, to exam its modern significance in terms of construction, adaptivity and sustainable value.

Luxia obtained her Bachelors of Environmental Design at the University of Manitoba in 2013, and has been practicing in the architectural design industry as an interior designer. She is now continuing her academic journey as a second year master’s student in the Department of Architecture working towards completing her Architecture Design Thesis.

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Food for Thought
Monday, December 3, 2018
Noon Centre Space
John A. Russell Building
Faculty of Architecture
University of Manitoba

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