There is a building boom going on in Africa and the goal is to develop the continent properly in each of the individual countries. Over $220 billion was spent in just the last year on constructing different buildings throughout the region. While Africanculture is important, many African architects have come to realize that non-local architecture is better for certain development areas. Every architect still does not agree as to what type of building is the best, but they all do agree that they want only the best for the entire country. With African architects being so knowledgeable in so many areas it is important to look and see what they have accomplished and what they plan to do in the future.
Buildings that incorporate both Western and African influences are the creation of David Adjaye. He recently completed a research study throughout Africa in order to build with an emphasis on individual cultures. He believes that Africa can become a place of architectural innovation. David Adjaye is currently building the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and while he is connecting it to other monumental buildings, he is not using the exterior to explain the African American story.
European training and traditional African methods combine for all of the architecture designed by Francis Kere. Instead of using all Western methods, he tries to add traditional methods that are solutions to the high temperatures, seasonal weather, and the lack of many resources in Africa. He likes to use local materials since they have been proven to work against the elements for many years. His earlier success was found in the area of Gando and the Gando Primary School then the library, secondary school, teacher’s housing, and the community center. He has been expanding his projects over the years which include a medical center, the Red Cross Museum, and a center that promotes earth architecture.
Kunie Adeyemi looks at alternate methods to build, instead of concentrating on luxury buildings and high rise construction buildings. He built the infamous floating school in Lagos. The school has been built over a lagoon and was quite easy to build at very little cost. According to the government though, the school is illegally built, however, Adeyemi is still planning on expanding the school concept to include floating residential and commercial buildings. Adeyemi has been active in many South African charities so that he can continue to help others with his fabulous ideas that achieve the maximum results without spending an exorbitant amount of money.
Many of Mokena Makeka’s buildings exclude part of the population in the areas that he works, because he makes the buildings too delicate and vulnerable. He also renovated the Cape Town Railway Station for the 2010 World Cup. The Thusong Service Center is a building that Mokena Makeka built that is supposed to integrate Khayelitsha into Cape Town. More women can be safer in the country because of the Rock Girl Bench Project that Makeka participates in. Benches are placed in different areas in the country and each one delivers a special message to women.
Architecture should be considered more for social reform according to Y Tsai. His design studio is located in Cape Town and much of his work is done in that same area. He has been able to take old shipping containers and create amazing and innovative things from them. This African architect actually won a Loerie Award in 2012 for turning an old shipping container into a classroom in South Africa. The classroom was quite colorful and had a steel roof to collect rainwater and windows for ventilation. There was also an outdoor gym and an outdoor amphitheater for school events.
Anyone in Africa who is looking for environmental designs in architecture will want to see the work of Mick Pearce. He has strived to create buildings that are sustainable, low maintenance, cost very little, and blend into their surroundings. Mick Pearce loves nature and is always looking for ways to incorporate it into his buildings and designs. His most popular building is the Eastgate Shopping Center in Zimbabwe. He managed to create a sustainable temperature control system by using tubes in the walls to move all of the air through the building. He had decided that this would work because it was what termites would do in a building.
Mphethi Morojele has been a leader in architecture in South Africa ever since the end of the Apartheid. He consistently works on embassy and university building projects and he wants to serve the public and reflect the social commentary. Many of his designs show strong cultural features. He worked on Freedom Park and helped design it for the victims of both the World Wars and the Apartheid Era. Since he enjoys helping the community, he participates in the 10 x 10 Housing Project. He helps design low-cost renovations on residential properties in the area.
Swahili architecture has simple structural elements with open courtyards and natural lighting and these are what Urko Sanchez specialize in. Sanchez works for the charity Anidan which focuses on children and children’s services. Anidan currently has the Anidan Shelter House, the Anidan Atelier, and the Pediatric Clinic. Since Sanchez has had so much success with Anidan, he also decided to help with the SOS children’s charity in Somali and Djibouti, so that more children can benefit from his work.
Nina Cohen and Fiona Garson never walk away from an architectural challenge and they have always done amazing work. They currently redesigned and renovated a former gas station, dental school and car dealership to turn it into the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg. The museum is definitely considered a work of art that everyone can enjoy and it is considered a premier tourist attraction.
African Architect: Greg Truen, Stefan Antoni and Philip Olmesdahi
Contemporary, sleek, high-end designs are what made Greg Truen, Stefan Antoni, and Philip Olmesdahi master architects for the SAOTA architecture firm that is based in Cape Town. These three Africa architects use innovative ideas and concepts to turn their architectural designs into reality and they have received numerous awards internationally over the years. They continuously use their past experiences as well as new ideas and understandings when they are creating new designs for all of their clients. They have worked on many different corporate, institutional, commercial, and residential buildings.