Architecture of Consequence, Social cohesion, Value creation | guest author | 08-06-2012
ArchiAfrika Educational Network Conference in Accra, Ghana. Photo: Berend van der Lans
Africa will experience the greatest growth of cities of the 21st century. How can it deal with the myriad of challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanisation? ArchiAfrika has taken up the challenge by launching a groundbreaking Educational Network for architecture on 4 June in Accra, Ghana. Former ArchiAfrika board member Antoni Folkers reports.
'ArchiAfrika, founded ten years ago by five Dutch architects, has landed on African soil. I took the archives of ten years of hard labor, saved them on a ridiculously small hard disk, put that in my bag and dropped it in Joe Osae-Addo’s lap. Osae-Addo, ArchiAfrika’s chairman since two years, has set up the ArchiAfrika secretariat and ArchiAfrika Accra satellite in 2011. He was also responsible for the organization of this two day conference on the future of African architectural teaching in Accra. Our other host was George Intsiful, head of the famous School of Architecture of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (KNUST). To revive the memory: KNUST was the base of Fry, Drew, and Cubitt, the modernist pioneers and missionaries on West African soil in the last colonial years.
Forty academics and students from fourteen African schools of architecture met in Accra to first tell each other of their existence: Jean-Charles Tall of the school in Dakar phrased this situation eloquently by expressing his surprise of discovering that there was such a thing as a school of architecture in Kenia…. represented by Lawrence Esho. Lawrence, for the insiders, was our ‘secret reporter’ at African Perspectives in Delft, back in 2007. Those who attended the Accra and Delft conferences no doubt share the sentiment of witnessing a historical moment. African Perspectives at Delft was the first time that the African architectural profession made itself heard and seen in Europe, or as Esho stated at that time -- ‘the first time that Africa came to Europe’.
This event in Accra was the first time that representatives of African schools of architecture came together in a conference organized by an African organization. We, the African, American and European participants, observed how a smoothly organized conference led to a concrete and clear action plan with the aims to improve and extend architectural training in Africa, to provoke African based academic research on architectural and urban issues, to open up and improve the visibility of the schools, and so forth.
Photo: Berend van der Lans
Abdelmoumen Benabdeljalil, director of the school in Casablanca, and organizer of the 5th African Perspectives event last year, will head the ArchiAfrika Educational Network, together with Alta Steenkamp of Cape Town, George Intsiful of Kumasi and Lawrence Esho of Nairobi. All schools present – apart from above these are the schools of Accra, Dar es Salaam, Pretoria, Addis Ababa, Enugu, Ile Ife, Lagos, Dakar, Maputo and Lomé -- pledged their support to this new network that will operate parallel to the central ArchiAfrika network. They also decided that the 6th African Perspectives event of 2013 will take place in Enugu, Nigeria.
Worth mentioning is that the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, in the person of director Farrokh Derakhshani, was the guest of honor and main donor of the event. The second guest of honor was no one else but ‘our’ Frans van Seumeren, who made a the transfer of ArchiAfrika from Utrecht to Accra possible. The owner of FC Utrecht and his wife just happened to be in Ghana to open their football academy in Tamale.
We know, Africa is the future. By far the greatest growth of cities in the world is taking place in Africa. And yet, ‘we, African architects and academics are still the last to be heard and the first to be ignored in the frenzy of the building boom’. This was stated by former Mayor of Accra, board member of ArchiAfrika Accra and architect Nat Amartefio at the beginning of the conference. The vibes at the conference and the drive and professionalism displayed by the participants may soon change this situation.'
It's in Teshie-Nungua (east of Accra). Grab a taxi or trotro (=minibus) to Coco Beach Junction in Teshie-Nungua, then take a taxi to Coco Beach Hotel and walk down the beach from there (where we were filimng, is direction Accra). Sadly, this beach is not always clean If you want to go to a beach for swimming in Accra, the other one from the video -Bojo Beach Resort (west of Accra)- might be a better option. Also, behind Independence Square is a clean beach (sundays = busy!). Enjoy!
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Veronica – I didn’t even think about it not being a mother2ng post when I submitted it! Thanks for your support and lovely comment. Since I’ve become a mother I go through this whole thing (when disasters happen) where I imagine myself and my kids in the situation and then work out what I would do. I was five months pregnant with our eldest son when 9/11 happened – I think my awareness began then. I am always impressed with how people do find the strength to move forward afterwards. http://nozxyvjn.com [url=http://zluzaeuns.com]zluzaeuns[/url] [link=http://okzvvnggowa.com]okzvvnggowa[/link]
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The NAI is member of ICAM, the
international confederation of architectural museums. Every two years, ICAM
organises a five day conference. In 2008, the ICAM conference was held in Oslo. The NAI participated with
a lecture by Annette ter Haar, head educations of the NAI. Read more: www.icam-web.org
Casablanca is a showcase of the interplay between planned and unplanned urban development and construction and the varied architecture that results from this. What can architects learn from these developments? In collaboration with the African Perspectives Conference and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Morocco, the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) organised two Debates on Tour in Casablanca on 4 and 5 November 2011.
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On Monday 28 september 2009, during the conference African Perspectives, the NAI organized a Debate on Tour in Pretoria, in cooperation with ArchiAfrika. The main topic: ‘How can the African City Centre with its (historical) identity and with care for cultural, mineral and physical resources best be prepared for the future in the comtemporary global context?’ The shortage of resources to sustain the centre and the development of townships were main themes.
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How has modernist architecture in Africa, often designed by European architects, been repurposed and reinterpreted by Africans? And how can the study of this lived modernism inform contemporary design practices in Africa and Europe? Johannesburg-based architect and researcher Hannah le Roux addressed these issues in the second evening in a series of debates about the informal city. Antoni Folkers introduced Le Roux and joined her in a discussion afterwards.
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The Education Department of the NAI
organises programmes for primary, secondary and higher education as well as
activities for children and young people who visit the NAI outside the
framework of a school visit.
> Read more...