Liberian Learning Center

Our firm have proudly supported the work of the Liberian Learning Center and Empowerment Squared for eight years. The charity founded by Liberian refugee Leo Nupolu Johnson, is building a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose educational facility in his homeland of Liberia. The Liberian Learning Center, the first-of-its-kind facility in the country, pioneers a new model for learning and will become a platform for social, cultural and educational exchange within the local community. The primary goal of the center is to develop a practical, skilled based platform to empower society in a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

Empowerment Squared was founded by Leo Johnson, who spent eight years in refugee camps after fleeing war-torn Liberia in 1998. Since arriving in Canada in 2006, Leo has split his time between Hamilton and Liberia in order to champion his vision for an organization that transforms Liberian communities through education, youth engagement, leadership development and grassroots partnerships.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Liberia has an adult literacy rate of less than 50%.

In collaboration with Empowerment Squared, we have designed a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility intended to house the country’s first public library since the outbreak of civil war in 1989. The vision is for the Liberian Learning Center to become a cornerstone of the community, created to inspire and support the development of Liberia. The new build facility will include a comprehensive learning center and library, co-working and business incubation spaces, sports and recreation facilities and event facilities.

At all points of the design, sustainable design principals have been incorporated. The building form is intentionally sculpted by the sun, wind and rain. The sloped roof forms a large, south-facing armature which harvests solar energy and rainwater. Passive system solutions reduce energy usage and build inherent resilience to unreliable power, sanitary and clean water infrastructures. It is important the Liberian Learning Center has an enduring connection to its community, with opportunity for the use of local labour and materials, not only in the construction but throughout the building’s life.

The project will use locally sourced craftsmen and materials to ensure the Liberia Learning Center has an enduring connection to its community and provide ongoing opportunities for maintenance and employment.

The project aims to raise $2 million. To learn more and donate to the project visit:

Project Link


Architecture, Interior Design, Mechanical Engineering



Team Leaders

Drew Hauser
Christina Karney