Florence Japzon

Master of Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)


My name is Florence Japzon, I am passionate about Social Architecture using design to benefit the community holistically. My research in the first semester led me to discover that due to the rise in demand for essential oils, groups like the Frankincense Harvesting communities have fallen into the Tragedy of the Commons. This is when people are working against each other and tapping the trees more frequently than they should. There was a study done to examine the health of 404 Frankincense trees (Boswellia Frereana) and 28% were dead and almost 50% were deemed very unhealthy.

Frankincense resin is the primary livelihood of the Madar Moge community that is situated in Cal Madow, Somaliland, and if the current practice continues for many more years, the Boswellia Frereana trees could become extinct, and the community will lose their primary livelihood. This means that the community need to make urgent changes to how the trees are being treated and stress to the harvesting community that they need to start implementing a sustainable tapping process. For the survival of both the Boswellia Freareana trees and the Madar Moge group, they need to create a symbiotic relationship. This can be initiated through architectural design.

I have proposed seven main resolutions to help save the Frankincense trees and the Madar Moge community. Firstly, creating a meeting hall to help establish a strong synergetic relationship between the existing community through strong communication with the other members of the group and resolve the Tragedy of the Commons. Secondly, getting the elders teaching the younger generations the correct method of tapping the trees that have been passed down for generations. Thirdly, designing a propagation centre to re-grow the forest that has been cleared due to overexploitation and the destruction of the charcoal production industry. Subsequently, giving dignity to the women who typically spend 10 hours every day in the warehouse sorting out the resins into specific grades for trading by designing a Women’s sorting block. Then, designating a space for research and development for Frankincense in order enhance the existing knowledge and provide facilities for the community. Next, a health centre to provide treatment for the many communities allocated in the Cal Madow mountain range. Due to the many conflicts in Somaliland and many of the road systems being destroyed from the civil war, it is common for people to die on the way to the hospital due to the distance and lack of access to transport. Lastly, to design rainwater catchment facility for drinking water because many communities suffer both erosions due to loss of vegetation cover and lack access to drinking water.

From my initial research, I was introduced to locally fabricated (lo-fab) buildings that were inspired by MASS Design Group. The main concepts are to hire locally, source regional materials, train provincially and designing to create dignity for the users.These are the fundamental principles that I aspired to integrate into my design for the Frankincense Harvesting Community.

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/florence-japzon

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Florence Japzon | Architecture 6
North West Elevation
Florence Japzon | Architecture 1View pdf
Exploded Axonometric Frankincense Research, Trade and Development Centre
Florence Japzon | Architecture 5
Harvesting Training Area
Florence Japzon | Architecture 4
Meeting Hall
Florence Japzon | Architecture 3
Rainwater Harvesting Butterfly Roof Structure - Temporary Accommodation
Florence Japzon | Architecture 2
Threshold Space
Florence Japzon | Architecture
Isometric Drawing