Top 8 Most Prolific African Architects To Watch Out For This Year
In the year 2013, more than $220 Billion were spent on various types of construction projects across the African continent. Africa has become a land under constructions with both foreign and indigenous architects trying to outdo each other by creating phenomenon landmarks. Today Innov8tiv brings you a list of African architects whose design are making a big mark both on the African continent and abroad. They are as follows:
- David Adjaye: Son to a Ghanaian diplomat, born in Tanzania but spent the better part of his childhood travelling the world before settling down in Britain at the age of 9. He is a world renowned architect who has scooped some high profiled awards including the American Institute of Architects and Royal Institute of British Architects. Adjaye has designed a number of highly revered buildings including the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory in England, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and the Princes Town resort in Ghana.
- Kunie Adeyemi: He is a Nigerian and founder of the NLE Architects. In 2013, he made a lot of news headlines when he completed the floating 3 story, A-frame school in Makoko; a slum area found on the waterfront of Lagos. The idea behind the school design presents limitless possibility in addressing fears of rising water levels in many areas around the world. Especially low lying areas that are in danger as a result of global warming that is melting down glaciers at the poles at unprecedented rates.
- Diebedo Francis Kere: He is one architect with a deep value for the African society, which could be largely attributed by his upbringing. He comes from a humble background in Gando, Burkina Faso. He has a firm, Kere Architecture based in Berlin, through which he has done some outstanding contemporary building designs, with the most notable being the design of a school back in his home country. In the school’s design, he replaced the conventional concrete with earth bricks and used raised corrugated steel roofing to better improve air circulation. His work led to him bagging the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
- Mokena Makeka: For Makeka, architect is not just an elegant design work. He conveys democratization messages through his work. For instance, he redesigned the Cape Town Railway Station and the Railway Police Station both of were symbols of apartheid. The two stations’ earlier designs were meant to segregate the black and white passengers. He is also the founder and principal for the Makeka Design Lab. which has won several awards including the Cape Institute for Architecture. Makeka was also among the Ordos 100 architects chosen to design the Industrial Chinese city.
- Y Tsai: He is a renowned Cape Town architect, and he heads the Y Tsai Design Studio. He believes in using architecture as a tool for social reform. Back in 2012, he converted and old ship container to a classroom for learning in rural parts of South Africa. This innovation won him the Loerie Award. The school Y Tsai designed has an outdoor jungle gym, steel roofing that harvest rainwater, an outdoor amphitheatre and intricately designed windows for ventilation.
- Mick Pearce: A Zimbabwean architect making remarkable environmentally conscience designs. He designs buildings that are sustainable, low-cost, low-maintenance and that blend in well with the natural surroundings. It can be said he gets his best inspirations from nature. He designed the Eastgate Shopping Center in Harare. A building that has sustainable temperature regulation system via tubes within the walls that circulate air throughout the building. This innovation employs the same mechanisms used by termites in designing their anthills that ensures the chambers within are always well ventilated. He also designed the CH2 in Melbourne, Australia.
- SAOTA: An architecture firm based in Cape Town, South Africa and managed by partners Greg Truen, Stefan Antoni and Philip Olmesdahi. SAOTA has become famous for its contemporary, sleek and high-end designs. A lot of the firm’s clients come from swank private residence, high-end resorts and upmarket commercial centers. Their most recent recognition was when they won the Award of Merit and Award of Excellence from the South African Institute of Architects for designing a luxurious residence in Western Cape.
- Nina Cohen and Fiona Garson: These two South African architects could be very well on their way to a prestigious award this year. Due to the renovation work and redesigning they did to a former gas stations, dental school and car dealership into the now Wits Art Museum. They have literally transformed the place into a work of art and poetry.
The above architects have truly demonstrated Africa as a land reinventing itself and full of potential in ingenuity. In the words of Lain Low, an architecture professor at the University of Cape Town who is also the editor for the South African edition of Architectural Digest says, “Africa is constantly looking to the north. It doesn’t always look in its own backyard, but the truth is, there’s a lot of very good indigenous knowledge on the continent”.