FROM DECEMBER 2014: ARCHITECTURE cropping up in Africa is achieving international acclaim for some of the most innovative and sustainable building designs in the world. In some cases it is a single building that has been designed to minimize impact on the environment or cope with environmental challenges.
In other cases the architecture involves a concerted effort among companies, individuals, and at times the government, to deal with certain demands such as urbanization or climate change or as a form of modernization to accommodate new economic aspirations.
Whatever the challenge, or inspiration, these designs all solve a problem and give food for thought on the future of construction in Africa.
We sampled a few:
EKO Atlantic project (Nigeria)
With a population approaching approximately 20 million inhabitants, Lagos is one of Africa’s megacities. To cope with the pressure of land and pounding waves from the Atlantic Ocean which have eroded the land off Lagos, bringing the sea closer to the financial centre of Victoria Island, the EKO Atlantic project was launched in 2003. It brings together private individuals and companies in a multibillion dollar investment aimed at transforming land lost to the sea into an ocean-front city.
The city will relieve land pressure through land reclamation, whilst the construction of the Great Wall of Lagos – made from 100,000 concrete blocks weighing five tonnes each to form an effective barrier that dispels the force of the waves and provides the primary armored sea defence – will prevent further erosion.
This immense task will culminate in an urban development the size of the Manhattan district of New York City that will become the financial centre of Nigeria, if not West Africa, by 2020. It will be a new home to 250,000 people and the workplace of another 150,000. The ten square kilometer development will have waterfront areas, tree-lined streets, efficient transport systems and mixed-use plots that combine residential areas with leisure facilities, offices and shops.
ARPT Headquarters (Algeria)
Working using principles of bioclimatic architecture, Mario Cucinella Architects have designed the new headquarters for the telecommunications agency ARPT (Autorité de Régulation de la Poste et des Télécommunications). Based in Algiers, its aerodynamic shape allows for rainwater collection and uses natural ventilation for its cooling needs.
On one side it is shielded from the hot desert winds, while the other side allows it to collect cooler air at night. The building will need less than 57% the energy requirement of a standard office building and will have 70% less water consumption.
Cite: Flashback: Incredible futuristic African architecture that solves problems… and get you thinking | 17 July 2015, 13:15 | Samantha Spooner
Images courtesy of: ekoatlantic.com, Made in Africa Foundation, Mario Cucinella Architects, NLE