Interview with one of The Gambia’s youngest architects, Mbugul Bah

Written by Alieu Khan

Mboguel Bah

He studied in the United Kingdom. Mbugul Bah is one of the country’s youngest architects.

What’s On-Gambia: Tell us briefly about yourself?

Mbugul Bah: My name is Mbugul Bah and I graduated from London South Bank University with a BSC in Architectural Technology. I live in Kololi, where I was born and raised.

Why did you decide to study Architecture?

I think for me it is a passion. Since when I was a kid, the best thing for me is like to design something and then see it emerge as a structure.

Are Gambians good at building houses?

That is a difficult question to answer. I think our technological abilities are lacking. We need to work harder; especially the schools where they teach constructions. They should do more in terms of encouraging young Gambians to use local materials. We need to do more.

Do you have your own company?

My plan is to set up one soon, a sustainable architectural and construction firm.

What do you intend to introduce in the market?

Something new, like sustainable buildings – using local materials. For example, using earth blocks (compressed stabilized earth blocks), which is about 90% of natural earth and 5-10% cement content.

What do you prefer – cement or mud house?

I prefer mud house.

Why?

It is cheaper and it has good insulation ability.

Do you have any on-going projects?

I am supervising a college building construction in Brusubi. I also have other projects.

Mbugel

Is it true that you can build a two-bedroom bungalow suite with D600, 000?

It is true!

Please explain.

The blocks I use are cheaper and they are compressed stabilized earth blocks. The conventional cement blocks are expensive because of the cement content.

What is your relationship status?

I am single.

When are you settling down?

When I have a wife. May be very soon.

What do you do in your spare time?

I go to the beach – that is a daily routine for me. I also spend time with my family.

Who are your favorite Gambian musicians?

I like T Smallz and Jali Madi.

Any message for young Gambians who are thinking of joining the construction industry?

I am encouraging them to go for it. It is really important for a country to have people with technical abilities. Schools should also introduce technical courses, not only architecture.