Photo of Noella Nibakuze

As architects we have the mission to provide buildings that improve peoples lives, while simultaneously preserving the environment. Buildings should not be intimidating, uncomfortable or alien for the end users. They should manifest an identity by adapting themselves to the environment where they are being built.

Noella Nibakuze

Design Director
Kigali, Rwanda

Noella envisions buildings as inclusive and inspiring spaces that enrich the lives of those who manifest and inhabit them. She believes that architecture should enhance people's quality of life while safeguarding the environment. 

As a Design Director at MASS, Noella has played a pivotal role in diverse projects spanning education, affordable housing, and healthcare. Notably, she spearheaded the community engagement and construction of the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), a first-of-its-kind campus that integrates ecological, animal, and human health in its curriculum. After RICA, Noella led the design of the Lagos Infectious Disease Institute, a cutting-edge hub for infectious disease treatment and research. In addition to her design work, Noella helps to cultivate purpose-aligned partnerships and shape the business development strategy of the MASS Africa Studio. 

Before joining MASS in 2017, Noella was at Studio 4 Architects, where she worked on education facilities, hotels, and residential units, including Vision City Estate, one of the biggest residential housing projects in Rwanda.

Noella's experiences as one of the few women in architecture at the outset of her career inform her commitment to advocating for women in STEM. She pays it forward by mentoring aspiring designers as a visiting lecturer at Rwanda's School of Architecture and the Built Environment. In 2023, she was a finalist for the inaugural DIVIA (Diversity in Architecture) Award, acknowledging her as a "role model for the next generation of women architects." 

Noella is a 2018 Techwomen Fellow. She is affiliated with the Rwanda Institute of Architects, The East African Institute of Architects, and the Union of International Architects (UIA); and holds a Master of Technology in Architecture from the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.