ArchiWEB Explorer: Africa

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What Urbanism Needs to Learn from Dubai

Photo by Flickr user Lars Plougmann Photo by Flickr user Lars Plougmann

In the past three decades, Dubai has grown from a dusty desert town to a strategic hub for international business and tourism. As a result, several cities in the developing world have been competing to outdo one another in the race to replicate this development model—an urbanism largely built around the automobile, luxury villas, gleaming skyscrapers, massive shopping malls, and ambitious “smart” cities, designed and built from scratch. Across Africa, these new developments go by different names: Eko Atlantic City Nigeria, Vision City in Rwanda, Ebene Cyber City in Mauritius; Konza Technology City in Kenya; Safari City in Tanzania; Le Cite du Fleuve in DR Congo, and several others. All are mimicries of Dubai.

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SOM Breaks Ground on Alárò City in Nigeria

Alárò City. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Alárò City. Image Courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have broken ground on Alárò City, a new masterplan development that will connect to Lagos in southwest Nigeria. The mixed-use model community will feature an international trade gateway with a new seaport and airport. Designed for the Lagos State Government and Africa’s largest urban developer Rendeavour, the project is made to boost foreign direct investment to create an economic and cultural hub for West Africa.

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Designing the Modern City

Designing the Modern City: Urbanism Since 1850
Eric Mumford
Yale University Press, May 2018



Hardcover | 7 x 10 inches | 360 pages | 125 b/w illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-0300207729 | $40.00

Publisher Description:
Written with an international perspective that encourages cross-cultural comparisons, leading architectural and urban historian Eric Mumford presents a comprehensive survey of urbanism and urban design since the industrial revolution. Beginning in the second half of the 19th century, technical, social, and economic developments set cities and the world’s population on a course of massive expansion. Mumford recounts how key figures in design responded to these changing circumstances with both practicable proposals and theoretical frameworks, ultimately creating what are now mainstream ideas about how urban environments should be designed, as well as creating the field called “urbanism.” He then traces the complex outcomes of approaches that emerged in European, American, and Asian cities.

Oscar Niemeyer to be Featured on the Streets of Rio

Contemporary Art Museum (MAC). Image © Iñigo Bujedo-Aguirre Contemporary Art Museum (MAC). Image © Iñigo Bujedo-Aguirre

The work of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is currently being featured by the city of Rio de Janeiro. Throughout the month of January, mock-ups and engravings signed by the architect can be seen in Barra da Tijuca, in the city’s West Side. There, visitors can discover the history of Brazilian architecture and see some of Niemeyer's most famous work. The RioCVB created the exhibition to celebrate Niemeyer's legacy and showcase Brazil's landmark buildings.

Spiritan Museum of African Arts / NeM / Niney et Marca architectes

© Cyril Weiner © Cyril Weiner
  • Architects: NeM / Niney et Marca architectes
  • Location: 26400 Allex, France
  • Lead Architects: NeM / Niney et Marca architectes, Gernay Architecture
  • Scientific Expertise: Nicolas Rolland
  • Area: 350.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Cyril Weiner
© Cyril Weiner © Cyril Weiner

Spiritanian collections are an exceptional testimony to the life, traditions, art and beliefs of the people of Central Africa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Spotlight: Oscar Niemeyer

Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Gonzalo Viramonte

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, or simply Oscar Niemeyer, (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012) was one of the greatest architects in Brazil's history, and one of the greats of the global modernist movement. After his death in 2012, Niemeyer left the world more than five hundred works scattered throughout the Americas, Africa, and Europe.

Skyscrapers of 2018: Soaring Beyond the Archetypal Crystal Tower

© Viktor Sukharukov © Viktor Sukharukov

Either as singular outcroppings or as part of a bustling center, skyscrapers are neck-craning icons across major city centers in the world. A modern trope of extreme success and wealth, the skyscraper has become an architectural symbol for vibrant urban hubs and commercial powerhouses dominating cities like New York, Dubai, and Singapore.

While skyscrapers are omnipresent, 2018 introduced new approaches, technologies, and locations to the high-rise typology. From variations in materiality to form, designs for towers have started to address aspects beyond simply efficiency and height, proposing new ways for the repetitive form to bring unique qualities to city skylines. Below, a few examples of proposals and trends from 2018 that showcase the innovative ideas at work: 

Huamo Lot 10 / Kohn Pederson Fox Associates (KPF)

Premio Internacional VELUX 2018 para Estudiantes de Arquitectura

“Light Forms Juggler” de Anastasia Maslova proyecto ganador en la categoría ‘Luz Natural en Edificios’.

El tema general del Premio Internacional VELUX 2018 para Estudiantes de Arquitectura ha sido “Luz del mañana”, lanzado para que futuros arquitectos de todo el mundo reflexionen e investiguen sobre la luz natural en edificios y espacios.

El jurado del premio ha estado formado por Carme Pigém Barceló, Rick Joy, Li Hu, Saša Begović y Martin Pors Jepsen, y ha seleccionado a los nueve ganadores regionales después de revisar más de 600 proyectos presentados de 57 países a principios de este año.

los proyectos ganadores a nivel mundial del Premio Internacional VELUX 2018 para Estudiantes de Arquitectura han sido para las propuestas “Light Forms Juggler” de Anastasia Maslova, proyecto ganador en la categoría ‘Luz Natural en Edificios’ y “Road to Light” de Yuhan Luo, Di Lan, Yuan Liu y Yusong Liu, proyecto ganador en la categoría de Investigación sobre la Luz Natural.

La luz del sol como creador de formas

RIBA Awards 2018 President's Medals for World’s Best Student Projects

How to Carve a Giant. Image © Sonia Magdziarz How to Carve a Giant. Image © Sonia Magdziarz

The Royal Institute of British Architects have announced the winners of the 2018 President’s Medals for the world’s best architecture student projects. This year's winners were selected from 328 design projects and dissertations submitted by over 100 schools of architecture in 37 countries. Three medals were presented, as well as commendations to nine students of architecture from around the world. Each year, the medals are awarded to reward talent and promote innovation in architectural education.

RIBA Silver Medal: Sonia Magdziarz (Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL)

Menchuks Apartment / Hrystia Koliasa Architecture

© Andy Shustykevych © Andy Shustykevych