Architects often shape masterpieces with an emotional impact on people which changes our perception of cities. They make cities more appealing and soothing, especially in Africa which is a land under construction. So, we have gathered a list of African architects with the most significant achievements in the medium. Some are making their mark in their country, while others are looking to export their aesthetic abroad.
Nationality: United Kingdom/Ghana
Company: Adjaye Associates
Masterpiece: Moscow School of Management, Moscow, Russia, 2010
David Adjaye, 1966 born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, is a British/Ghanaian architect who makes buildings with an artistic design. With his practice, Adjaye Associates, he has won several awards and has worked on various architectural projects such as public buildings, exhibition designs, private home, and artist collaboration. Recent works include public buildings in Oslo, London, Lagos, Dakar, and Washington which illustrate Adjaye’s strong interest in the integration of architecture into its existing surroundings. He often collaborates with artists and curators on conceptual and installation projects.
Masterpiece: Chicoco Radio Media Center, Port Hartcourt, Nigeria, 2014
Kunlé Adeyemi is a Nigerian architect and urbanist born in 1976. After studying architecture at the University of Lagos, he worked on several urban projects in Nigeria. Then he joined the Office for Metropolitan Architecture based in Netherlands, where he led numerous projects across the world. Using this experience, Adeyemi founded his own studio called NLÉ, which means “at home” in Yoruba. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research, and architectural projects in Africa. For instance, the practice is pioneering floating buildings to solve the issues of flooding and land occupation that affect many people in African coastal cities.
Diébédo Francis Kéré
Nationality: Burkina Faso
Company: Kéré Architecture
Masterpiece: Gando Primary School, Gando, Burkina Faso, 2001
Diébédo Francis Kéré is born in 1965 in Gando, Burkina Faso, where he did his first architectural experiments. After completing his studies in architecture in Berlin, he opened his own practice and worked on several projects to develop his native village. Kéré believes that architecture is more than art and much more than just shaping buildings. He uses local labor and natural materials, mostly clay and wood, to create contemporary buildings. Kéré has given talks, attended conferences, lectured on sustainable building methods, and provided conceptual designs for projects all over the world.
Company: Mick Pearce
Masterpiece: Eastgate Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe, 1996
Mick Pearce is a Zimbabwean architect born in 1938 in Harare. His main areas of interest are sustainable architecture and biomimecry – the imitation of natural processes to solve complex problems. For instance, he was inspired by the self-cooling mounds of termitary to develop a passive cooling system, using tubes in the walls to move air through the building for the Eastgate Centre in Harare. Pearce believes that buildings must work as a self-sustaining organism in which each part supports the activities of the other. He designs buildings which require less energy consumption, have low environmental impact, and use natural materials.
Nationality: South Africa
Company: Makeka Design Lab
Masterpiece: Cape Town Railway Station, Cape Town, South Africa, 2010
Mokena Makeka, 1975 born in Maseru, Lesotho, is a Cape Town-based architect. He was responsible of the city’s railway station redesign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He mainly uses renewal resources such as hot dip galvanizing which can aesthetically substitute stainless steel or aluminium. He believes that architecture should be rooted and aligned with the local culture. Makeka won several prizes on design through his practice and has given lectures at the University of Cape Town. He views his studio as a place of learning and seeks to have an international impact as well.