Dar es Salaam: The Latest Architecture and News
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 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.
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.
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.