Recently Park Books published African Modernism: Architecture of Independence, a book on African Modernist Architecture. The book, edited by Manuel Herz with Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn, Julia Jamrozik along with photographs by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster, documents the architecture of Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia in the immediate post-Independence period. Aside from documenting the architecture the book discusses the role of the context of this architecture in the development of national identity and links with modernisation, and visually explores its subsequent absorption into the urban fabric in cities such as Dakar, Accra, and Abidjan.
Rachel Stella Jenkins [Co-founder and Coordinator of Ka’ssa, a network of London-based urban professionals with a distinct gaze on African urbanism] was an invited panel discussant at the book’s launch at the AA – Architectural Association School of Architecture on 30.04.15.
Rachel, born in Mozambique, presents in this photo essay an initial glimpse of Modernist architecture from Maputo. As the book points out Mozambique, along with other Lusophone African countries did experience a turbulent period immediately before and after independence (gained later than most Sub-Saharan African countries, in 1975). This is cited as being the principal reason the editors chose to not include Lusophone countries in their selection of African Modernist architecture. However, a wealth of architectural works, with outstanding quality, does exist in these countries. While not all reflects the process of independence and decolonization, it does reflect imaginaries of modernization, as illustrated in these 10 photos.
Despite some shortcomings (brought up at the panel discussion which can be viewed from the AA Website), the book records an important time in the continent’s architectural history, and has joined a growing dialogue on the architecture to be found on the continent within a wider and global media [The Guardian series on African Modernist Architecture focused around the publishing of the book. The photo essay below is a response to some of the omissions in the book, particularly the modernist architecture of the lusophone countries.
Hotel Tivoli, on Avenida 25 de Setembro, Architecht: Carlos Veiga Pinto Carmelo
Edificio TAP/Monetepio de Moçambique (TAP/Monetepio of Mozambique Building), on Avenida Samora Machel, Architect: Alberto Soeiro (1960)
Edificio Abreu, Santos e Rocha (Abreu, Santos e Rocha Building), on Praça dos Trabalhadores.
Architect: Pancho Guedes (1953)
On Avenida Julius Nyerere
Residence ****, on Avenida Kwame Nkrumah, Architect: Pancho Guedes
O Leão Que Ri (The Lion that Laughed), on Avenida Kwame Nkrumah, Architect: Pancho Guedes – detail (1956)
Edificio 33 Andares (33 Storey Building), on Avenida 25 de Setembro & Avendia Vladimir Lenine (circa 1974)
Edificio Tonelli (Tonelli Building), on Avenida Patrice Lumumba & Avenida Vladimir Lenine, Architect: Pancho Guedes (1954-8)
Igreja de Polana (Polana Church), on Avenida Kwame Nkrumah / Avenida Dr. Egas Moniz /Rua Luis Pasteur, Architect: Nino Craveio Lopes (1959-62)
Edifício Dragão (Dragon Building), on Avenida Eduardo Mondlane, Architect: Pancho Guedes (1951)