MASS Design Group

Promoting justice and human dignity through architecture and design

Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

Aerial view of MASS Design Group's Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA). Building shaped like an infinity symbol, surrounded by rural land and other small buildings.

Image courtesy of Iwan Baan, MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group’s mission

MASS Design Group researches, builds, and advocates for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. Its team of 150 architects, landscape architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers representing 20 countries work together to expand access to design that is purposeful, healing, and hopeful.

Meet Christian Benimana

“To design effectively, you have to first immerse yourself in the environment, the context, and the community you will be building in.”

— Christian Benimana, Managing Director, MASS Design Group; Director, African Design Centre

Impact in action

Aerial drone photo of the MASS RICA campus, with the main infinity-shaped building in the lower-left corner, with a series of buildings appearing intermittently on the campus grounds. The campus is surrounded by forest and includes what appear to be crop fields. A slightly windy road weaves through the campus, connecting the main building to the others.

Design & Make

The world’s first climate-positive university campus

MASS Design Group’s Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) is a testament to the potential of low-carbon construction methods. The entire campus is off-grid, sourcing 100% of its energy from an on-site solar farm, all its water from a nearby lake, and 96% of its materials from Rwanda.

Image courtesy of Iwan Baan, MASS Design Group

A tightly focused side view of a woman with short hair, small silver earrings, and a traditional African shirt with multi-colored concentric designs, standing and looking pensively (toward the left of the frame), apparently listening to a speaker present to a group of other individuals in a well-lit room with what appear to be clay walls and a vaulted, wood-framed roof. Four other individuals stand in the background, out of focus, also paying close attention to the presenter.

Design & Make

Advancing gender diversity and inclusion in construction

MASS Design Group is creating more opportunities for women to take the lead on construction sites in Rwanda, providing a supportive network for them to share experiences, grow professionally, and build community.

Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

Ground view from the patio of one of the buildings of The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. Foreground: Stone patio ground with curved, wood-paneled roof with large, round opening in the top, supported by thin black poles. Background: Another campus building in the distance, surrounded by green grass, a stone retaining wall, and a thick row of trees, with a large mountainous range in the background — sunny skies with scattered clouds.


Sustainability shapes the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda is a MASS Design Group project that continues the legacy of primatologist Dian Fossey, embodying principles of conservation and sustainability in all aspects of its design, construction, and operation.

Image courtesy of Iwan Baan, MASS Design Group


Building for Africa’s growing population

Realizing the need for local solutions to shared challenges across the African continent, MASS partnered with The Nubian Vault Association to upskill architects and masons using local materials and time-tested methods.

Image courtesy of Christian Lamontagne, Cosmos

Autodesk University

Material innovation, opportunities, and risks

MASS Design Group pushes the boundaries of design and construction in East Africa helping create opportunities to strengthen the construction industry.

Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

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