Uncovered Ground: Architectural Elements, Urbanism and Cities

Uncovered Ground: Architectural Elements, Urbanism and Cities

The year 2021 has been a turbulent one –coronavirus rages on, and the design and construction industries have been forced to keep adapting two years into a global pandemic. As virtual methods of working and communicating continue to be tweaked and honed, a plethora of virtual events has meant that architectural discourse outside the western canon and Eurocentric gaze, in a small way, has been able to claim space front and center in the global architectural conversation.

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The coverage of uncovered territories on ArchDaily in 2021 has seen a focus towards architectural elements far away from the western world, discourse on urbanism that platform the cities of the Global South, and reflections on the complicated histories that make up the built environment that we live in today.

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District Six - Cape Town, South Africa. Image © Johnny Miller

Histories


Related Article

African Urbanism: Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Age of Megacities

The African continent houses extremely varied interpretations of the Modernist architectural style. The Modernism of the West African region – places such as Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, and Ivory Coast, has been relatively well documented, however, the architects who pushed for a Modernist style in the East African region are still largely unheralded figures. Pancho Guedes in Mozambique designed in what can be viewed as a post-modernist style, sculpting the landmarks of central Maputo. A border away, in Tanzania, architects Anthony Almeida and Beda Amuli had their own interpretation of Modernist ideals re-purposed for a Tanzanian context.

Two pieces that reflect on these histories:

Pancho Guedes, Sculpting a New Africa

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via Architecture of Doom

The Global Legacy of Modernism in Tanzania

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© Benedikt Redmann

Architectural Elements: The Vernacular

The reality of the effects brought about by climate change has seen a questioning of existing ways of practicing architecture. In an era where cities in two completely different parts of the world can house nearly identical buildings, there has been a resurgence in contemplating the place of vernacular architecture in contemporary cities. Windcatchers as a cooling architectural element may be thousands of years old, yet they play a vital role in new buildings built in harsh climates. In reinterpreting vernacular elements in a contemporary context, however, it also must be mentioned that simply using local materials and deploying vernacular architectural elements do not necessarily make a project inherently more sustainable.

Two articles that reflect on this:

What is a Traditional Windcatcher?

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© Shervin Abdolhamidi / BBC

Local Expertise Versus Local Extraction: African Vernacular Architecture and a More Holistic Sustainability

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© Ralf Steinberger via Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Urbanism

Cities on the African continent are complex ecosystems. Post-colonial African cities are grappling with how to preserve their cultural heritage in today’s architectural landscapes, a fact made harder by the lost histories of pre-colonial indigenous architecture. At the same time, colonial urban planning principles still play an integral part in how many African cities function today.

Two pieces that examine urbanism on the African continent:

African Urbanism: Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Age of Megacities

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Courtesy of Common Edge

Divided: Urban Inequality in South Africa

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© Johnny Miller

Across Disciplines

Far from simply being a geographical categorization, the term “new territories” also spans the cross-disciplinary connections that can inform architectural research and practice. The emerging field of Environmental Neuroscience, for instance, looks like it will play a significant role in future urban planning. Over in a creative field with closer ties to architecture, the film continues to be a medium that observes and critiques the spatial conditions of cities.

Three articles that delve into these topics:

Equitable Cities Through the Lens of Environmental Neuroscience

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© Hao Chen

Nomadland: Journey of a Modern-Day Nomad across the Landscape of the American West

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Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

The Spatial Stories of Ousmane Sembène

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Courtesy of Janus Films

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Year in Review. Every month we explore a topic in-depth through articles, interviews, news, and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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Cite: Matthew Maganga. "Uncovered Ground: Architectural Elements, Urbanism and Cities " 01 Jan 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/973685/uncovered-ground-architectural-elements-urbanism-and-the-cities-of-new-territories> ISSN 0719-8884

© Johnny Miller

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