Tanzanian Architecture

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World Habitat Awards 2024 Recognize Housing Initiatives that Empower Communities

International non-profit organization World Habitat, in partnership with UN-Habitat, has announced the World Habitat Awards 2024. The prizes strive to highlight projects that demonstrate novel and transformative approaches to housing that incorporate principles of climate change adaptation and community-driven solutions. This year, 8 projects have been selected, out of which 2 projects were recognized with the Gold World Habitat Award.

The Distinctive Mosques of Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to an enormous number of religious adherents – within which there is extraordinary diversity in religious expression. Iconic buildings serving a religious purpose are found throughout the continent, such as The Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Family in central Nairobi or the Hare Krishna Temple in South Africa. What is evident is that architecture that hosts religious gatherings makes up a key part of the urban fabric of sub-Saharan African cities and that in a lot of cases, religious structures go against the grain – leaving aside or tweaking classical models in favor of a unique architectural approach.

The Urban Remnants of Colonial Planning in Africa: Dar es Salaam and Nairobi

A quick glance today at the cities of the African continent reveals a rich diversity of urban settlements, ranging in type from rural enclaves to sprawling metropolises. That quick glance also reveals a larger picture of cities that are continuously adapting and evolving as we enter the decade of the 2020s – yet this evolution in many places is taking place at the expense of those who are less fortunate. This is not happening in a vacuum, as the reason why a lot of African cities look as they do today is a result of a segregated organization during colonial rule.

The Legacy of Modernist Architecture in Tanzania: Anthony Almeida and Beda Amuli

The legacy of the Modernist movement is a complicated one. Spanning a diverse assortment of fiercely debated sub-categories and styles, the Modernist style has established its presence in virtually every continent. Although the movement’s origins may be rooted in Europe and the U.S., outside of the Eurocentric canon architects have redefined and re-established the definition of a “Modernist” building. In Sri Lanka, for example, architect Geoffrey Bawa’s sensitive, nature-inspired architectural responses gave rise to the “Tropical Modernism” label. Over in the African continent, it is in the East-African country of Tanzania that some highly unique examples of Modernist architecture are found – headed by architects Anthony Almeida and Beda Amuli.

Zanzibar: The Many Meanings of Light

Light — how we perceive the world around us — is an integral, emotive architectural element. Access to light is enhanced and limited in an architectural capacity globally, with architects of expensive tropical dwellings celebrating sunny vistas with expansive glazing, while a wide range of art galleries reject light in its natural form, eliminating it in adherence to the sensitive exhibit requirements of art pieces. Light in an architectural and urban sense is also highly symbolic, evident in the many metropolises of our world, but where this symbolism takes on an interesting dimension is in the archipelago of Zanzibar.

A School for Girls in India and a Vertical Community Farm in the US: 10 Unbuilt Socially Engaged Projects Submitted to ArchDaily

The year 2022 was marked by several socio-cultural and economic crises across the globe, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the increasing cost of living worldwide, combined with a number of natural disasters such as the devastating floods in Pakistan and hurricane Ian in the US. In these difficult times, architects are stepping up and embracing their role in developing design-based solutions to humanitarian crises, ranging from temporary shelters and affordable housing schemes to centers for protecting at-risk groups such as homeless underage girls, children from low-income environments, or families in need of medical care.

The Architectural Identity of the State House

Known as the state house, the presidential palace, and an assortment of other terms — the building that hosts a country’s seat of government is usually quite architecturally striking. Frequently opulent, grand, and sometimes imposing, the state house is intended to function as a visually distinct marker of a nation — an extension of a state’s identity. In the African continent, a landmass that had seen a significant part of it colonized by European nations, this identity of statehood, in an architectural sense, is complex.

The Doors of the Coast: From Zanzibar to Oman

A defining feature of the architecture of the Swahili Coast—apart from its coral stone buildings and mangrove poles used to elaborate those structures—is undoubtedly the ornamented door so commonly found across this coastal area. Richly decorated, and historically often layered with meaning, these doors, apart from serving the more utilitarian function of an entrance, were also signifiers of status and wealth. From this Swahili Coast to the Arabian Peninsula, these doors of the coast are very much markers of their location, representative of trade and migration.

OMT Architects Designs Africa's Tallest Timber Tower in Zanzibar City, Tanzania

German-based architecture firm OMT designed Africa's tallest hybrid timber tower in Zanzibar City, Tanzania. In partnership with Birk Heilmeyer Frenzel Architects, engineering firm Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineers, and CPS Developers, the "Burj Zanzibar" will rise 96 meters tall to accommodate 266 residences and recreational and conferencing facilities. The mixed-use tower will promote the locally available wood and support the growing urban infrastructure that, according to the government plans, expects to attract tech companies to turn the island into a leading hub for Africa's technology companies.

Reading Between the Skylines

Cities have been, and will always be multi-faceted, elastic sites. They are settlements in continuous evolution, molded by proximity to natural resources, by migrating populations, and by capital. Despite the diversity in the urban character of disparate cities, it has been said that cities look alike now more than ever before, a uniformity that means a glass-and-steel tower in Singapore would not look out of place in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.