OKHA Digs into African Abstract Geometry for the Stone Rug Collection

OKHA has just released their exploration of abstract geometry in The Stone Rug Collection. Much like the emoji’s of iSpeak or the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, the South African Nguni (Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Swazi) visual lineage uses graphic geometry to instantly communicate messages such as gender, social status, and uses colour to represent mood.

Eminence of Space: Cities as more feminine entities

Carlos Goni's book Lo Femenino (EUNSA, 2008) points out the difference between men and women when it comes to clothing. For men, clothes are meant to cover their nakedness. Their value is purely functional. For women however, clothes are an expression of their personality. What she chooses to wear on a particular day is a woman's way of saying who she is; her values, personality, and what she w...

Making a Case for the Renaissance of Traditional African Architecture

Last September, Nigerian Afrobeat musician Wizkid played to a sold-out house at the Royal Albert Hall in London, joining a growing list of illustrious African musicians, such as Selif Kaita, Youssou Ndour, Miriam Makeba and others, that have performed at that prestigious venue. This event affirmed the unfolding cultural renaissance across the continent, but it also signified the rising global i...

Focus : Hassan Fathy

Hassan Fathy is the default setting for social housing in architecture. He was the epitome of sustainable no pretence living, a man whose life and work spoke more to people within his community than perhaps any other architect in the world. It is perhaps with this mindset that archiDATUM launches the inaugural Series where we will FOCUS on the architects in Africa that are larger than their work.

GSA Boogertman+Partners International Lecture Series 2018 Features Alejandro Aravena

GSA Boogertman+Partners International Lecture Series 2018 starts with Alejandro Aravena of Elemental. Alejandro Aravena, graduated as an architect from Catholic University of Chile in 1992. He continued his studies of Theory and Art History in IUAV in Venice. In 1994 he established his own practice, Alejandro Aravena Architects. From 2000 until 2005, he taught at Harvard University, where he fo...

Why Mixed-Income Communities Are Essential for the Future of African Cities

The idea of planned mixed-class neighborhoods was first proposed by Ebenezer Howard in his 1898 book, To-morrow: A peaceful Path to Real Reform, which was later revised and reprinted four years later as Garden Cities of To-morrow. In the book, Howard offered practical solutions to the overcrowding and industrial pollution of growing Victorian cities. He wanted to build new, self-sufficient, ega...

Dicky Hokie Reimagines the Kenyan Shilling With Banknote Designs

Dicky Hokie has just shared with us his interpretation for what a contemporary Kenyan Shilling would like. In a quest to re-examine the portrait less currency envisioned in the new constitution of 2010, where the currency laws prohibit the glorification of one individual. these set of bank notes design explore a highly efficient and expressive set of design that delve deep into what he consider...

Christian Benimana on The Next Generation Of African Architects And Designers

Christian Benimana wants to build a network of architects who can help Africa's booming cities flourish in sustainable, equitable ways -- balancing growth with values that are uniquely African. From Nigeria to Burkina Faso and beyond, he shares examples of architecture bringing communities together. A pan-African movement of architects, designers and engineers on the continent and in diaspora a...

Africa’s Urban War on Street Vendors and the Missed Opportunity for Social Unity

In most great cities, street vendors are an essential part of urban life. They give a place its texture, its bustle and buzz, even its soul. With the dawn of each new day, on streets and piazzas all over the world, vendors take their places, roasting walnuts, making waffles, grilling hotdogs, setting up makeshift stages for performance or the creation of art. Most of us can’t imagine city life ...

African Modernism Exhibition at Shifteye Gallery Studios Nairobi by Manuel Herz

Manuel Herz was in Nairobi early last month to open the exhibition based on his book, African Modernism, to over 100 architects and artists who showed up. The organisers, the University of Nairobi and Goethe Institute Nairobi gave the opening remarks before Manuel Herz gave his informative lecture.

Regional Lafarge Holcim Awards 2017 Middle East Africa Winners announced

The LafargeHolcim Awards is about more than just beautiful buildings and stands out as the world’s most significant competition in sustainable design. The competition acknowledges projects and not only finished work that go beyond current standards and deliver new, surprising, or truly visionary solutions to the way we build. The fifth cycle of the competition attracted 5,085 entries from autho...

Award-winning Japanese Architect, Shigeru Ban, signs deal to design new homes for thousands of refugees in Kenya

Renowned Japanese Architect, Shigeru Ban, winner of the 2014 Pritzker Prize, seen as the “Nobel Prize of Architecture,” has signed an agreement to design up to 20,000 new homes for refugees, in the Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement in Kenya.

UJ GSA Lecture Series: Bjarke Ingels Speaks in Johannesburg on Hedonistic Architecture and the Art of Giving Form

Bjarke Ingels spoke last week to over 750 enthusiastic architecture lovers in Maboneng, Johannesburg, continuing on the Lecture series run by the Graduate School Of Architecture at University of Johannesburg. Ingels, perhaps one of the most divergent critically acclaimed contemporary architects, sort to take the audience through a journey of his famous "process" of architecture, one now made kn...

David and Peter Adjaye's Vinyl Factory: How Architecture and Music Intersects at the Highest Level

If architecture is frozen music, as Goethe said, then Peter Adjaye has been busy taking a blowtorch to his brother’s buildings. The result, released this week in the form of a limited-edition vinyl album, sees 10 of David Adjaye’s projects melted down into a liquid cocktail of electronic sounds, plucked strings and deep percussive beats, in a series of experimental soundscapes composed by his m...

Building Madness: How the Boom and Bust Mentality Distorts Architecture

Architects are economically bipolar; for us it is either the best or the worst of times. And it’s not just architects. The entire construction industry is tuned to these extremes, but only architects are psychologically validated by booms and crushed by busts. All professions have a larger source of dependency—medicine needs insurance, law needs the justice system—but the construction industry ...

The Elusive Element of Regional Urban Resilience and Social Awareness in Cities

With urban sites being places where the large percentage of the population dwells to alter their economic situation, large cities have become home to high concentrations of poverty. The motivations and forms of concealing this reality have resulted in large inequalities manifest in conflict and other forms of social disability palpable in the region today. In the greater expansion, conflict can...

Other Desires: The African City

Discussions on African cities bear diverse voices. Architects, artists, theorists, filmmakers, novelists, historians, planners and other professionals that have an impact on the continent’s development of cities come together and share their voices in one or divergent commonalities. Having this multi-disciplinary approach, gives an appropriate  kaleidoscopic view of the situation in Africa espe...

ArchDiaries: A Walk in the Mind of Frank Gehry

Often we have to step outside our comfort zone and experience the world over. The musings of Frank Gehry led Humphrey Mumita to take a deeper exploration of the ‘Foundation Louis Vuitton’ in Paris. Through Humphrey’s detailed account, Our new series ArchDiaries curated by Peninah Mutonga takes us for a walk in the mind of Frank Gehry;

Pin Up: Paragon Architect's Sasol Headquarters Sandton Walkabout by Edwin Seda

Four weeks ago I had the rabbit's foot fortune of visiting the new Sasol Headquarters in Sandton Johannesburg by Paragon Architects. The idea that sustainability is bland is dead now in the contemporary realm. We live in the evermore ostentatious and intrinsic ability to combine both sustainability and aesthetic within corporate architecture and the Sasol Headquarters is taking the front line t...

Small Kitchens, Tiny Toilets : The Gender Gap in Architecture

Have you ever wondered to what extent our buildings are less functional because women are not designing them? Isn’t it a pity that, globally, only a small percentage of women are involved in designing the environments that they themselves live in?

Shelfie: Cradle To Cradle

Africa is known to be the cradle of mankind as evidenced from the archeological findings in Koobi Fora and Meroe. This goes to state that the continent itself is to serve as a point of reference going forward, the book cradle to cradle, takes a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainability where the origin and life of a product is well thought through. The Authors, William McDonough is a traine...

The Plantation: A Visual Diary of Charcoal, Oil, and Mixed Media in-Situ Drawings

This book is intended as a tool for the viewer/reader of this exhibition to immerse themselves visually into the more abstract realm of the Nasrec precinct of Johannesburg’s southern mining strip. It is to share, and to form the basis of a discussion between myself and you, the reader. Please take this book to your friends, family, and peers. Tell them to engage with it or throw it away. If the...

The Styled Chic and Shack Architecture Drawings of Jo Noero

Joe Noero is no stranger to critical and conscious South African Architecture. A signature definition of his achievements is perhaps that he an International Fellow of The Royal Institute of British Architects and an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects but his accomplishments perhaps lies in building small worlds of order and creating socially purposeful architecture

Does Makoko Floating School's Collapse Threaten Whole Slum's Future?

Like most Lagos residents, I was familiar with Makoko Floating School. Its steep, three-storey triangular roof was visible from the Third Mainland Bridge, which cuts dramatically across the Makoko lagoon, the city’s vast waterworld slum. Designed by the Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi, the Floating School was the winner of multiple awards for architecture and urbanism, attracting great interna...

Collapse Or Upgrade: NLE's Statement and on the Ground Opinion

Heavy rains brought down the pyramid-shaped wooden school, built on a platform held afloat by hundreds of plastic barrels, on Tuesday. None of its nearly 50 pupils were in the building when it collapsed, officials said. Classes had already been moved to another location in late March after heavy downpours at the start of the rainy season began to affect classes. "It is not only the floating sch...

The Plantation: A film By Jaco Jonker For the People of the Forest

Jaco Jonker smiles when I ask him how his thesis should be read, almost as if it is an obvious allusion to further clarify that it simply evokes the element of reason, the idea that maybe you might read it wrong. And then he hands me the film, and says "This is For the People of the forest". Together with his final year thesis, there is an element of somewhat hidden conclusions, transitioning i...

Changing Skyline: What Western Architects Can Learn From Africa

In this article originally published in the Philly, Inga Saffron, an architectural critic, looks at the influence of Francis Kéré on sustainable community architecture and skill building and how it has reverberated in Western countries with similar excitement surfacing in different forms within Africa and the rest of the world.had to travel long and far from his tiny farming village in Burkina ...

Sudanese Students Are Protesting to Save Khartoum’s Historic Architecture

Sudan student protests show how much city planning and design matter. In this article originally published in The Conversation, Amira Osman and Mariam Mohd Abdallah focus on how city planning or lack of thereof in Sudan's main capital is casuign havoc across the city's old historic neighbourhoods.

Shelfie: The Future of Architecture in 100 buildings

This 2015 mind opening book rightfully says that more can be asked from Architecture to bring life and innovation to produce an accurate back-drop to our divergent, creative and active society. Mark Kushner considers the public to be a partner in Architecture and he invites him into asking simple yet critical questions together with the designer in the hope of pushing the envelope towards the u...

Building for the Gap – Experimental Housing Units for Sub Saharan Africa

There is an expected boom in the construction sector in Sub Saharan Africa as factor of the projected urban population estimated to grow by almost 70% by 2025. This heavy urbanization consequently will choke the already insufficient planning methods in building techniques, soft and hard infrastructures and economic cycles. The current solutions in the said region are not commensurable with the ...