Although the pyramids of Egypt are recognized worldwide, most buildings in Africa are still unknown-architects Adil Dalbai and Livingstone Mukasa hope to change this.
They are part of the team that recently published the seven-volume “Building Guide for Sub-Saharan Africa.” Their in-depth research covers early architecture, colonial times—such as the recently renovated railway station (pictured above) built in Dakar, Senegal in 1910—and more modern masterpieces.
Here are the 12 most innovative, historic and iconic works:
1) Kasubi Tomb, Uganda-1882
The Kasubi Royal Complex occupies several hectares in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and is the cemetery of the monarchs of the Kingdom of Buganda. It is mainly constructed from wood and other organic materials. The interior design replicates a sacred forest with 52 rings on the top, representing each of the 52 Buganda clans.
Mukasa, who was born in Uganda, first visited these tombs when he was 10 years old. “This is great,” he told the BBC. “Not only its scale, but also the grandeur of the entire building.
“[It] Built in the late 19th century, traditional methods with hundreds of years of history were used before the introduction of modern materials. I think this building has a sense of existence. When you are inside, it dominates you. “
2) Ethiopian Lideta Market-2017
This shopping mall was built in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is constructed of lightweight concrete and is a contemporary entrance.
The design under consideration includes a perforated facade that controls the flow of natural light and internal ventilation.
In addition, the openwork pattern of the gleaming white shell of the decorative building imitates the traditional Ethiopian fabric.
3) Hikma Complex, Niger-2018
Mariam Kamara, Niger founder of architecture studio Atelier Masōmī, restored a former Hausa mosque in disrepair, adding a community space and library.
Compressed earth bricks constitute the bulk of the building, and the materials mainly come from within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of the site in Dandaji Village.
For Darby, the seamless integration of the new and the old in the project is particularly impressive.
“This is obviously a contemporary building deeply rooted in Nigerian tradition,” the German architect told the BBC. “Not only culturally, but also technically, because it relies on ancient traditional building techniques and materials.”
4) Maropeng Visitor Center, South Africa-2006
Maropeng, known as the cradle of the world heritage of mankind, is a state-of-the-art visitor center designed to help people understand the early development of modern mankind.
This iconic structure was designed by South African companies GAPP Architects and MMA Studio.
The building itself is like a tomb rising from the earth, and its design seems to be truly integrated with nature.
5) The Pyramid of Sudenmar-3,000 BC
The oldest entries in the guide are these stepped pyramids, which date back to 3,000 BC, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, in Merlo, the Nile Valley.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once the capital of the ancient Kusht Empire, and excavations have found the remains of palaces, temples and royal baths.
The pyramids of this cemetery are built of sandstone blocks, and the interior is etched with exquisite reliefs.
6) Basotho Houses, Lesotho-date unknown
In Lesotho, “litema” is a fresco decoration involving carvings, mosaics and relief elements on the exterior walls of houses. The house is built with adobe bricks and plaster, painted in the traditional ochre color, symbolizing the blood of fertility and sacrifice, white represents purity and peace, and black represents the promise of ancestors and rain, marked by “dark rain”. cloud”.
“The way that Basotto’s houses stand out in the landscape has always interested me-the use of colors and the use of geometric shapes,” Mukasa said.
“What I always find interesting is that people use their surroundings to turn the basic structure into a work of art.”
7) Kenneth Dyke Library, Nigeria-1954
This library is often cited as one of the key works of so-called “Tropical Modernism”.
It was built during a period when patterned sunscreens were popular. It was inspired by the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier’s use of “sunlight”-an architectural feature of buildings that deflects sunlight Reduce the heat in the building.
The building was designed by Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, pioneers of the British modern movement. The library is part of the campus of the University of Ibadan-established by the British colonial authorities in 1948-and has become an influential model of climate-responsive architecture in the subregion.
8) Mali Djenné Great Mosque-13th century
The Great Mosque is a monument of Islam and the largest civil construction in the world. This mosque is the symbol of the city of Djene, which flourished as a commercial center between 800 and 1250.
The smooth carved walls of this building are constructed with sun-dried adobe bricks, sand and earth mortar, and a layer of stucco.
Per year, City residents repaint the mosque together In a one-day event called Crépissage de la Grand Mosquée (plastering of the Grand Mosque).
9) The Palace of the Emperor Fasilides of Ethiopia-early 17th century
This palace is located in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar, in a fortification called “Fasil Ghebbi” (Royal Wall).
The site includes about 20 palaces, royal buildings, elaborately decorated churches, monasteries and unique buildings.
The design of these buildings was influenced by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by Jesuit missionaries.
10) Dominican Church, Nigeria-1973
The artist Demas Nwoko blends sculptural elements and modernity with native Nigerian architecture in this redesigned Dominican church in Ibadan.
The structure incorporates features such as carved wooden columns and railings and delicate metalwork on the gate.
Mukassa said this marked a radical breakthrough from a modernist movement that consolidated its position on the African continent to a way of expression that was “localized and derived from local culture.”
11) Great Mosque of Benin-1912-1935
This mosque in Nyhavn, the capital of Benin, is a notable example of African-Brazilian architecture built in the style of a 17th and 18th century church in the state of Bahia in northeastern Brazil. The palette of bright yellows, browns, greens and blues is reminiscent of historic buildings in Bahia.
Along the coast of West Africa, it is one of many Afro-Brazilian mosques built in the early 20th century and returned by the descendants of freed slaves.
“It showcases the many layers that are unique to West Africa’s architectural heritage-the intercontinental links between Europe, South America and the West African coast of the Gulf of Benin. There was a lot of exchange at the time,” Darby said.
12) Mapungubwe Interpretation Center, South Africa-2009
Located in the rocky landscape of Mapungubwe National Park, the center won the 2009 World Architecture Award from South African architect Peter Rich at the World Architecture Festival.
Rich said that this famous design was built with “a long-forgotten vaulting technique, which was brought to Catalonia by bricklayers from North Africa and used by architects such as Antoni Gaudí.” .
Mud bricks are a clay mixture made using the soil from the construction site and only 5% of the additional cement.
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