Architect Mariam Kamara (1970, Niger), grew up in Niamey, the capital of Niger. After having trained and worked as a software developer in the U.S, she obtained a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Washington, and in 2013 became a founding member of united4design, a global collective of architects working on projects in the U.S., Afghanistan and Niger. This led to her founding Niamey-based architecture andresearch rm atelier masōmī in 2014. Using a mixof ancient techniques and modern technology, her architectural practice aims to design spaces that have the power to elevate, dignify, and provide a better quality of life. Mariam Kamara aims to discover innovative ways of doing so, while main- taining an intimate dialog between architecture, people, and context. She believes design to be as crucial as politics and economic development. ‘For me, vernacular architecture is about under- standing our traditional techniques and rebooting them so that we can make new things.’
In rural Niger, markets run on a weekly basis, allowing sellers to move from village to village all week long to offer their products. With a rapidly increasing population, the village of Dandaji needed a more permanent structure for its weekly market—currently organised around an ancestral tree—to secure the sale of goods, promote commerce in the area and provide a comfortable central public space for its inhabitants.