As Venice Architecture Biennale presents its 18th edition titled "The Laboratory of the Future", it centers on Africa as a place of exploration that will offer a template for solutions to the world. According to its curator Lesley Lokko, the Biennale explores entrenched concepts such as climate, land rights, decolonization, and cultures. It challenges us to question how Africa's history can be a radical tool for imagination and reminds us of Stephen Covey's statement: “Live out of your imagination, not just your history.” The biennale's title is probably the most ambitious question in years. It forces us to revisit all boundaries of the continent's historical societies, explore the influence of imposed colonial borders on them, and examine the dual identities they gave birth to. We must consider how these identities can be instruments of creativity, and, more importantly, recognize that every African society has a unique point of view. This viewpoint yearns for cross-cultural collaboration as a powerful tool for imagination.
Africa: The Latest Architecture and News
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.
Atelier Masōmī Designs the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development in Liberia
Atelier Masōmī has just revealed its design for The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center). President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chose an all-female team to work on the project with lead architect Mariam Issoufou Kamara of Atelier Masōmī, exhibition's architect Sumayya Vally of Counterspace, and the local architect Liberian architect Karen Richards Barnes. The EJS Center, located in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, will provide digital access to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s personal and professional archives.
Color, Composition, and Scale: Analyzing Brutalist Photography
Sometimes sculptural and expressive, sometimes monolithic and monotonous, the Brutalist architectural style is equal parts diverse and divisive. From its origins as a by-product of the Modernism movement in the 1950s to today, Brutalist buildings, in architectural discourse, remain a popular point of discussion. A likely reason for this endurance is — with their raw concrete textures and dramatic shadows, brutalist buildings commonly photograph really well.
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.
2023 Venice Architecture Biennale: 63 National Pavilions and 89 Participants with Significant Representation from Africa
Announced today in a live presentation, the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, titled The Laboratory of the Future, curated by Lesley Lokko, will be open to the public from May 20 to November 26, 2023, in Venice, Italy. This edition will include 63 National Pavilions, 27 of which are at the Giardini, 22 at the Arsenale, and 14 in the city center of Venice. Structured in six parts, the exhibition will include 89 Participants, over half of whom are from Africa or the African Diaspora, with a 50/50 gender balance, and an average age of 43 for participants. Contributors include Adjaye Associates, atelier masōmī, Kéré Architecture, MASS Design Group, Sumayya Vally and Moad Musbahi, Theaster Gates Studio, Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, Liam Young, Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, to name a few.
It’s Time for Africa to Chart Its Own Climate Change Agenda
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Last November, the annual climate conference COP 27 came to a close in Sharm el-Sheikh with a tentative agreement, reached at the last moment, to set up a “loss and damage” climate fund for Africa and other developing countries. For Africans, this was cause for muted celebration, because for generations the continent has built its climate change agenda almost exclusively around the pursuit of climate justice, a desire to enforce liability on the industrialized nations responsible for the bulk of global carbon emissions. All of this has unfolded, in a sort of willful blindness, while a majority of Africans struggled with the most prosaic challenges: inefficient urban sanitation; poor stormwater management; a paucity of water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities; willful and unabated deforestation; and environmental degradation.
The AI Image Generator: The Limits of the Algorithm and Human Biases
2022 has been the year of AI image generators. Over the past few years, these machine learning systems have been tweaked and refined, undergoing multiple iterations to find their present popularity with the everyday internet user. These image generators—DALL-E and Midjourney arguably the most prominent—generate imagery from a variety of text prompts, for instance allowing people to create conceptual renditions of architectures of the future, present, and past. But as we exist in a digital landscape filled with human biases—navigating these image generators requires careful reflection.
A Textile Factory in Vietnam and a Transformed Industrial Wasteland in Germany: 8 Unbuilt Offices Submitted to ArchDaily
This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights office spaces submitted by the ArchDaily community. From a TV station in Vietnam to a bazaar-inspired business center in Iran, this round-up of unbuilt projects showcases how architects structure corporative spaces to serve as a model for sustainable, innovative, and future-oriented workplaces.
Featuring the firms AEXN, HGAA, Ho Khue Architects, Kennon, Macroepsilon Architects, Plinthos Architects, Rvad Studio, and 3deluxe, the following list explores office buildings at different scales and varying stages of their development. Whether competition-winning projects or ongoing planned execution, each project advocates for local social-economic development and responds to the growing energy-efficient demand.
Questioning the Megalopolis in the Global South
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.