Thursday, May 13, 2010

Africa: African Architecture - MIT Student Presentations

John Ellis talks about African colonial urban planning imposed by the Italians upon Asmara, Eritrea, in the 20s and how it reflected changes back Italy in terms of modernism and later Fascism under Mussolini. He then goes on to investigatory experiments by various architects departing from the Le Corbusier narrow frame of mind International Style and looking to make buildings that responded and adapted to the local environment.

MIT student, Nancy Demerdash's "Before the scramble for Africa: tracing African architecture through trade" goes back to 1200 to understand the historical development of various architectural forms as a function of natural resources in the complex changing societies and trading economies that depended on these resources. Also, how different architectural typologies evolved and were impacted by environmental and climatic changes. In other words, she tries to explain architecture as a function of trade and trade routes and touches on Ait-Ben-Haddou fortifications in the Ouarzazate province of Southern Morocco, the Djenne Mosque in Mali following trade on to Mopti, on to the Swahili trade routes ending up in Zimbabwe.

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