Lecture: Responsive Open-Source Modular Housing Prototype — Pagirinya Satellite (Uganda)

October 21, 2022

1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT EDT

Lecture: Responsive Open-Source Modular Housing Prototype — Pagirinya Satellite (Uganda)

Date: Friday, October 21, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Speaker: Stephen Kovats (‘ 90)

Venue: Architecture Building, The Pit, Main Floor


Stephen Kovats is a 1990 alumnus of the Carleton University School of Architecture. After his studies, he spent a decade in post-unification Germany, working on numerous internationally oriented study and cultural programs addressing architecture, urbanism, and digital media activism.


Kovats is a founding co-director of the r0g_agency, a Berlin-based nonprofit organization applying open-source technologies in post-conflict and rapid transformation regions.


He also lectures on Media Aesthetic Education Practices at the University of Darmstadt’s International Media Cultures program.


Previously, Kovats served as artistic director of the transmediale festival for art and digital culture (Berlin), DEAF – Dutch Electronic Art Festival (Rotterdam), and the OSTranenie electronic media forum (Bauhaus Dessau).


His current work with r0g_ includes peacebuilding, youth innovation, and digital media development.


His initiatives, such as #defyhatenow countering online incitement to violence and the #ASKnet Access to Skills and Knowledge network, look to link critical making and digital culture to empower marginalized communities.


At Carleton University, he will introduce #ROSHOP – the Responsive Open-Source Housing Prototype. The #ASKnet project by the South Sudanese refugee-led Youth Empowerment Foundation up-scales local building skills and practice at the Pagirinya Refugee Settlement in Northern Uganda.


It was the only project from Africa featured at the 2021 Media Architecture Biennale.



About Stephen Kovats


Stephen grew up in Canada and studied architecture at Carleton University in Ottawa. As a cultural and media technologies advocate, he has been deeply engaged in issues of open culture and social transformation since the early days of German unification. After deep engagements with these topics at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and V2_Institute for Unstable Media in Rotterdam, he returned to Germany in 2007 as artistic director of Berlin’s transmediale festival for art and digital culture.


The idea of taking a more proactive, open-source-based approach to international, post-conflict development led to the founding of the r0g_agency in 2013, together with his partner Susanne Bellinghausen.


His roles at the r0g_agency include helping develop the #defyhatenow program to counter social media hate speech and incitement to violence, as well as supporting the open tech innovation programs, including #ASKnet, the Access to Skills and Knowledge network.


In his free time, he enjoys explorative off-grid travel, skiing, and all activities relating to water or winter.



The #ROSHOP Modular House is a media and digital culture informed housing prototype for complex post-conflict and politically unstable environments, responsive to refugee, IDP and resource scarce needs. The use of open source tools and platforms, such as GitHub allows local builders to collaborate with global peers to develop more efficient and easy to build housing prototypes, especially for community use – embracing citizen’s participation, strengthening community well-being. Sharing the building methodologies, allowing for adaptation and further development of the prototypes can support both the rapid development of quality building as well as the critical learning of the requisite skills to do so.