African Peoples’ Cooking School, Tanzania, Africa

Garbers & James’s (GJ) Masterplan is the product of an extended visit to the region and detailed study not only of the Landscape, Topographical and Environmental contex, but also of the programmatic strategies and requisite coordination with the Tanzanian education system with a view to achieving accreditation.

The overall architectural composition speaks simultaneously of the elephant’s footprint; Kweme or the Oyster Nut seed; the colours, materials and fabrics of the land; shade, light and camouflage, the wonderful natural phenomena that need our care, attention and protection and which lie at the heart of this visionary project.

The scheme captures and composes the inherent qualities of beauty in the palette as a concrete expression of the essence and spirit of this unique school, aiming to take the knowledge and wisdom gained from responsible land and animal husbandry, crop production and the resultant creatively traditional yet contemporary cuisine to the wider world.  It will serve as an exemplary role model that can act as a blueprint for similar values in differing contexts.

The result is a proposed complex that principally speaks of

  • invitation and community
  • the creation of foods and cuisine that reflects the traditional and contemporary needs and aspirations of current Tanzanian and wider African peoples
  • a celebration, not only of the foods and peoples, but also the landscape, flora, fauna and agricultural methods that complement the setting, all tended for in a sustainable manner
  • materiality and crafting that optimises and showcases the skills and resources of the area

There will be:

  • a larger central arena for gathering. Presentations and debate; international forums; TED talks; music, dance, feasting and .colourful markets can all happen here. The Arena is the central invitation to visiting public and the community of the APCS as a whole, surrounded by 4 adjacent schools
  • the four CARE schools are for

Cooking – teaching the highest standards of cuisine appropriate to the area as well as international cuisine

Agriculture – teaching students how to grow the best quality and most nutritious ingredients in a sustainable manner, optimising local natural resources in harmony with the local flora, fauna, soils and water

Research – leading the studies, investigation and requisite proofs of nutritional content and quality control relative to the food products grown, packaged and used in the Cooking School

Empowerment – showing the students how to promote the skills learned and develop the requisite business and marketing techniques to market the very best of the region, county and continent both at home and abroad.

The buildings will sit harmoniously in the vast surrounding landscape, often seen from the surrounding slopes in parts of the National Park.  the grouping and “fifth elevation” from above is important to the natural integration in the tapestry of the landscape forms and patterns.

Low energy details and systems capitalising on orientation to achieve passive functioning as far as possible for cooling and refrigeration; ventilation and heating when needed, are central to sustainable functioning.  This approach will also ensure that the principles of model can be replicate elsewhere.

The complex is surrounded by the fields, groves, avenues and gardens that make up the vital and visually rich growing patchwork of crops that is in effect the APCS’s production machine.

There will be ancillary tools, storage and livestock shelter buildings integrated within the weave.

The whole combines to give the world’s first African Peoples’ Cooking School a new earth centred role model for the creativity, joy, health and wealth that a carefully considered contemporary african cuisine can offer.