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 favour of a unique architectural approach.
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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.
A Circular Summer Retreat and a Native-Tree Inspired Bungalow: 11 Unbuilt Villas Submitted to ArchDaily
This week’s curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights private residential projects submitted by the ArchDaily community. From futuristic private retreats on the coast of Hawaii to a mini-housing concept on the rocky cliffs of Montenegro, this article explores residential architecture and presents projects submitted to us from all over the world.
The African continent has been - throughout history – a key player in the ever-evolving story of human migration. Cultures and customs have been shared, adapted, and re-imagined as a result of this movement of populaces, and architectural styles are no exception. In a way, the varied architecture present in Africa is a lens one can look at to understand the intricacies of migration. Present on the continent are ancient indigenous and building typologies born out of the organic assimilation of cultures. Also present are remnants of colonial architecture, a legacy not of voluntary migration, but of forced colonial imposition.
The world of travelling is a multifaceted one. There are the everyday trips one takes for work or school, commuting to a set location during the week, usually within the confines of a city. There are the longer trips too, the trips which usually involve getting into an aeroplane to visit someplace a bit farther from where the traveller usually resides. These trips are frequently done for business purposes, but for those who have the means to afford it, these trips are undertaken for learning and leisure – where the traveller can be defined as a “tourist”.
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 what the definition of a “Modernist” building is. 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.
Tanzania’s architecture is built to celebrate nature and everyday life. Representing a long history of diverse styles, from British and German to Arab influences, much of the country’s major buildings include mosques, churches and marketplaces. Today, Tanzania’s diversity is also rooted in its traditional architecture and structures that were shaped by both their functional use and culture.
With a modular composition inspired by traditional sub-Saharan African building typologies, MASA Studio’s safe lodging proposal for Tanzanian cancer victims has been selected as the winner of the Hostels for Hope competition, which called for solutions to issues of health and safety in regards to the rehabilitation of cancer victims away from home in rural Africa. Organized by Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an international foundation combatting women’s cancers, the competition responds to the unfortunate decision that thousands of Tanzanian women have to make every year – to travel great lengths for unaffordable treatment and lodging, or to remain at home unable to fight the disease.
Architecture firm Ingvartsen Architects has turned their gaze towards “cultural exchange architecture”—not with the aim of exploring identity or experimenting with aesthetics, but with a practical purpose in mind: to minimize the spread of diseases. The Magoda Project combines Asian elements with traditional rural African building methods in the village of Magoda, in the Tanga region of Tanzania, taking shape in the form of eight prototype homes. The design goes to show that cultural exchanges in design and architecture can make great contributions towards problem solving for a humanitarian purposes, not only to improve health and hygiene, but also comfort and happiness.
Pemba, a small Tanzanian island off of Africa's Eastern coast, is undergoing something of a construction boom. With half of the population aged under 30 and a culture in which a man must build a house before he can get married, a wave of new informal housing is sweeping the island. Historically, construction methods used by the islanders have been problematic: traditional wattle & daub construction typically survives for just 5-7 years; its replacement, bricks made of coral, not only require large amounts of energy to extract but have a devastating effect on the environment; and modern cement bricks most be imported at high costs.
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