As of today, over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and by 2050, this urban population will almost double in size, and 7 of 10 people in the world will live in cities. As cities have continued to grow and expand throughout history, a new vocabulary has also emerged, often to better communicate the scale of urban living in a relatively contemporary context. One such example is the term megalopolis – typically defined as a network of large cities that have been interconnected with surrounding metropolitan areas by infrastructure or transportation. In effect, it’s a region perceived as an encompassing urban area, within which there is a constant flow of commerce and migration.
Africa: The Latest Architecture and News
Honoring the 2022 Laureate, the Burkinabé architect Francis Kére, The Pritzker Prize releases a ceremony video from the recently opened Marshall Building at the LSE, designed by the 2020 Pritzker Laureates Yvonne Farrell, and Shelley McNamara. The documentary includes remarks by the awardee, Tom Pritzker, and previous Laureates such as Alejandro Aravena, Norman Foster, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal. This ceremony presents Kéré with the 2022 Pritzker Prize medallion, the highest honor in architecture, certifying him as a Laureate for his extraordinary work with communities and architectural ingenuity.
Doreen Adengo, Ugandan architect and trailblazer, passed away on July the 22nd of this year, after battling a long-term illness. She founded Adengo Architecture, a studio based out of her home city of Kampala. A designer who studied in the United States, worked in firms in New York, Washington, and London, and was teaching at Uganda Martyrs University – her legacy is nothing short of extraordinary. It is a legacy that spans disciplines and geographies – but a legacy, too, that is deeply rooted in the context of Africa, Uganda, and Kampala.
Doreen Adengo, architect from Kampala, Uganda has passed away, as reported by African Futures Institute’s Instagram Account, after a long battle with cancer. Founder of Adengo Architecture in 2015, a research-based multi-disciplinary practice operating out of her hometown Kampala, Doreen, a registered architect in the United States and Uganda, had earned her undergraduate at the Catholic University (Bachelor of Science in Architecture) and graduate studies at Yale (Masters of Architecture). She has taught at The New School and Pratt Institute in New York, the University of Johannesburg’s Graduate School of Architecture, and was currently teaching at Uganda Martyrs University. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, Doreen Adengo was recognized by ArchDaily as one of the established practitioners implicated in change.
The luxury hotel, as an architectural typology, is distinctive. In effect, it’s a self-contained community, a building that immerses the well-off visitor into their local context. Self-contained communities they might be, but these hotels are also vessels of the wider socioeconomic character of a place, where luxury living is often next door to informal settlements in the most extreme examples of social inequality.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working with the Nigerian Government to develop Rebuilding Ngarannam, a stabilization program in Northeast Nigeria that offers a new village to a community displaced by Boko Haram. The new urban plan and infrastructure were designed by Nigerian Consultant Architect Tosin Oshninowo, who consulted with the community to create a settlement that reflects and speaks to their culture. The first phase, which includes housing and essential services like education and healthcare facilities, is set to be complete in the summer of 2022.
At the turn of the 19th century, a British publishing house would release a book written by an English urban planner – a book with an optimistic title. The title of this book was To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, later reprinted as Garden Cities of To-morrow. The English urban planner in question was Ebenezer Howard – and this book would lay the foundations for what would later become known as the Garden City Movement. This movement would go on to produce green suburbs praised for their lofty aims, but it would also produce satellite communities that only catered to a privileged few.
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God gave growth to every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
This is how the Garden of Eden is portrayed in the first book of the bible, Genesis, which describes the origin of the universe and the heavenly place where Adam and Eve were placed. Such a paradise, despite being little characterized in the original words, has been inhabiting the imagination of the faithful and other enthusiasts of the matter for centuries. The scenes of this idyllic place, reinforced by the paintings and sculptures created over time, present a landscape considered ideal, an Edenic nature, expressed many times by the vibrant and contourless color – just like a painting by Monet –, probably emphasizing the representation of the spiritual world, where the image is seen through the contrast of colors, shadows and lights.
The Laboratory of the Future: The 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale Announces Title and Theme of its 18th Edition
Running from May 20th to November 26th, 2023 in the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and at various sites around Venice, the 18th International Architecture Exhibition will be titled: The Laboratory of the Future. Announced today by the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Roberto Cicutto, and the Curator of the exhibition, Lesley Lokko, the theme and title of this edition will consider the African continent as the protagonist of the future. “There is one place on this planet where all these questions of equity, race, hope, and fear converge and coalesce. Africa. At an anthropological level, we are all African. And what happens in Africa happens to us all”, explains Lokko.
Architect Mariam Kamara—founder of Niamey, Niger-based firm Atelier Masōmī—is a contrarian of design pedagogy as it is largely practiced today. To Kamara, modern is not synonymous with European forms, architecture is not only for Westerners to define, and the so-called canon of great buildings actually ignores most of the built world. The Niger-based architect's rapidly growing practice informs a series of lectures she has delivered recently at MIT, Columbia University GSAPP, the African Futures Institute in Ghana, and Harvard GSD.
Led by architectural designers Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi is a collective based between Switzerland and South Africa that aims to bring African women together for the development of spatial education in African cities. Through design practice, writing, podcasts, and other initiatives, Matri-Archi — one of ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021 — focuses on the recognition and empowerment of women in the spatial field and architectural industry.
ArchDaily had the opportunity to talk to the co-directors of the collective on hegemonic space, informal architecture, technology, local idiosyncrasies, and the future of African and global cities. Read the full interview below.
It’s a ubiquitous architectural form. An architectural typology that spans centuries and borders, a staple across cultures. The tent. In its simplest form – it’s a shelter, with material draped over a frame of poles. It’s an architectural language that is intrinsically linked to nomadic living. Yurts, for instance, functions as an easily portable dwelling for the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples. At the same time, tents have proved a popular stylistic precedent for architects, the lightweight structures of German architect Frei Paul Otto being a case in point. The tent is a complicated architectural language – one that straddles the line between temporary and permanent, and one that also functions as a symbol of wealth and a symbol of scarcity.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Compared to that of the West and East, awareness and knowledge of the architecture of sub-Saharan Africa—Africa south of the Sahara Desert—is scant. A new book intends to mitigate this oversight, and it’s a significant accomplishment. Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa (DOM publishers, 2021), edited by Philipp Meuser, Adil Dalbai, and Livingstone Mukasa, was more than six years in the making. The seven-volume guide presents architecture in the continent’s 49 sub-Saharan nation-states, includes contributions by nearly 340 authors, 5,000 photos, more than 850 buildings, and 49 articles expressly devoted to theorizing African architecture in its social, economic, historical, and cultural context. I interviewed two of the editors—Adil Dalbai, an architectural researcher and practitioner specializing in sub-Saharan Africa, and Livingstone Mukasa, a native Ugandan architect interested in the intersections of architectural history and cultural anthropology—about the challenges of creating the guide, some of its revelations about the architecture of Africa, and its potential impact.
Last Tuesday, March 15, Francis Kéré became the first African architect to win the Pritzker Prize, the most important award in the architecture discipline.
The election of Kéré is not only symbolic in a time of identity demands, where the institutions that make up the mainstream are required to more faithfully represent the social, cultural, and sexual realities that make up our societies, but it also confirms the recent approach of the Pritzker Prize jury.