Welcome Guest. Login or Register

MY Archh.com aCCOUNT

Have an Account

Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Remember Me
Spacer
Spacer

OR

Spacer
Spacer

OR

Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer

Create an account for free

Spacer
Spacer
Example : www.archh.com/m/username
Spacer
Spacer
Date of birth
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
Spacer
I accept the Terms & Conditions
Spacer
Spacer
CLOSE

blogs

Sep 18, 2014

Six Game-Changing Architects from Africa

People in architecture and design

These renowned architects from the continent of Africa have made a world of difference to not only architecture but also to the world beyond their homes. They have overcome prejudice, shattered glass ceilings, worked on award-winning international projects and introduced sustainable and low-cost solutions in economically distressed areas. These six African architects are lauded for their outstanding work and design acumen… 


Paul Revere Williams (1894- 1980): 

Paul Revere Williams has designed over 3,000 buildings in his career spanning over five decades. He was also the first African American ever to be elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1957. The bitter irony of his situation was that he designed homes for whites in localities where blacks were barred from entering. Williams was an outstanding draftsman and had a unique ability to render drawings upside-down; it is said that he perfected the skill in order to make his white clients, who would sit opposite him, more comfortable. But despite the undercurrents of racism, he became well-known as the “Architect to Hollywood Stars.” His star clientele included the likes of Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Groucho Marx, Lauren Bacall among others.


Paul Williams and Theme Building (top left) at Los Angeles International Airport, designed along with William Pereira and the Guardian Angel Cathedral Las Vegas 


Norma Sklarek (1928- 2012): 

She is the first licensed African-American female architect and the first black female fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Born in New York, Sklarek studied architecture at Columbia University. Despite being discouraged from joining a man’s profession, she was determined to work for an architecture firm. After a short stint at NYC Department of Works and Owings and Merrill, she moved to Gruen Associates in Los Angeles. At Gruen, she climbed the corporate ladder and became the firm’s director in 1966. She was also the vice president of the Welton Becket firm and is associated with landmark projects such as the Fox Plaza in San Franscisco, Terminal One of Los Angeles International Airport and the American Embassy in Tokyo.


Norma Sklarek and The Fox Plaza in San Francisco


David Adjaye (1966 – Present): 

This multi-award winning ‘starchitect’ is the principal of his eponymous firm. Being born in Tanzania to a Ghanaian Diplomat, Adjaye travelled the world before finally settling down in Britain at the age of nine. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1993 and around the same time, bagged the RIBA Bronze Medal. His commissions include designing private residences, pavilions, major arts centers and important public buildings across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Some of the well-known projects include the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. In 2007, the Queen conferred the OBE (Order of British Empire) title on him for his services to British Architecture. In 2009, he was selected to design the $500 million National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of Smithsonian in Washington DC, which will be completed by 2015.


David Adjaye and the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management


Kunle Adeyemi (1976- Present):

Kunle Adeyemi is a Nigerian architect, designer and an ‘urbanist.’ He studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, and then joined Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA in 2002. There he led the design and execution of projects across Europe, Asia and Africa and Middle East. He is currently heading his firm NLÉ (which means ‘at home’ in Yoruba language). Adeyemi is passionate about using his skills in order to bridge critical gaps in urban development in Nigeria. He is also one of five members on the International Advisory Council for the World Design Capital 2014 being hosted by Cape Town, South Africa which aims to identify, support projects that offer solutions to improve lives within the African context. He also made waves last year with the completion of a floating, three-story A-frame school built in Makoko, a slum on the waterfront of Lagos, Nigeria.


Kunle Adeyemi and the floating school in Makoko


Diébédo Francis Kéré (1965- Present): 

Diébédo Francis Kéré is an award-winning architect from Burkina Faso, a nondescript West African country. Born in a small village called Gando, he moved to Germany on a scholarship shortly after completing his education. He studied architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. Although his firm is based in Berlin, Kéré has dedicated his life towards the development of Gando by reinvesting his knowledge he gained from Europe. In 1998, he set up Schulbausteine für Gando, which loosely translates as "Building Blocks for Gando," to fund the construction of a primary school for his village. Earlier the schools were made of concrete and made it difficult for students to concentrate in the heat; Kere's schools are made with heat-absorbing earthen bricks and have corrugated steel roofs that are raised to allow air for better circulation. His efforts have earned him numerous accolades including the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. 



Diébédo Francis Kéré and the primary schools in Gando


Mick Pearce (1938- Present): 

Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce is a frontrunner in sustainability practices. The main focus of his career in the last 20 years has been on sustainable architecture. He practices and propagates the principle of biomimicry which is the imitation of natural processes and the use of natural materials. He studied the way termites ventilated their nests and conceived an ingenious cooling system for the CH2 project, a mixed-use building in Melbourne, Australia. The Eastgate Centre in Harare, also Zimbabwe’s largest office and shopping complex, was designed by Pearce in conjunction with engineers at Arup Associates. The building has no conventional air-conditioning or heating, yet stays regulated year round with dramatically less energy consumption using design methods inspired by indigenous Zimbabwean masonry and the self-cooling mounds of African termites! His mission is to create low-cost, zero-energy buildings that are an extension of the natural environment.



Mick Pearce and the CH2 building in Melbourne


Photo courtesy Wikimedia, NYT