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Architectural Firm Announced!

In a bold move meant to transform the future and fate of young people in the Bié province of Angola, the non-profit SHAREcircle and Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, architects and planners, are pleased to announce that work will begin on a master plan and first academic building for a new institution: Angola Central Highlands University.

“We are very pleased to announce our selection of Hanbury Evans to work with us on this important effort. All the firms competing for the opportunity showed us high quality concepts, but we felt the team from Hanbury Evans best captured the spirit of our vision,” said Guerra Freitas, SHAREcircle Executive Director and the Angola University Board of Trustees Chairperson.

Angola, a country devastated by 30 years of civil war, has managed to rebuild primary, secondary, and tertiary schools in the seven-year armistice, but the demand for higher education is enormous and unprecedented. The government and the people of Angola are eager to train leaders to position the country for a sustainable future and to train a global workforce for the international companies currently operating there, and those planning operations there. This university project will increase the availability and accessibility of higher education for the Bié people for regeneration, rebirth and renewal.

SHAREcircle, a humanitarian relief agency working in countries emerging from conflicts, particularly Angola, is sponsoring the university project. The organization will seek funding for the initiative from foundations, private corporations, and governments, with a goal of beginning work within the next year on a 12-square-mile tract of land provided by the Bié government.

University stakeholders earnestly seek to marry what is best in Angolan (African) culture, its ancient educational system, and modern architectural design. As a result, the Hanbury Evans team invested deeply in understanding the challenges facing the country as well as cultural references. For example, the fractal pattern layout of the campus plan is an interpretation of indigenous village planning principles. “The more we learned about the country and the people, the more we became passionate about Angola University. This will be a life-changing campus for thousands of people,” offered Steven W. Gift, Hanbury Evans Design Principal.

As a teaching tool, the campus will promote dialog, collaboration, sustainability, and interdisciplinary behavior. At the heart of the campus, a Wisdom Center will serve as a community beacon, embodying the University mission and oral traditions of learning. A watercourse will run through the campus and Wisdom Center, physically connecting the campus to its larger site and symbolically transcending the past, the present, and the future.

The concept represents many opportunities to elevate the campus to become a beacon of light for the future of the Angolan people.