April 2, 2017 - Center for Architecture - Architecture of Independence—African Modernism
e-flux Architecture
April 2, 2017
April 2, 2017

Center for Architecture

Rinaldo Olivieri, La Pyramide, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), 1973. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Architecture of Independence—African Modernism
February 16–May 27, 2017

Lecture: Kunlé Adeyemi: April 18, 6–8pm
Symposium: African Modernism(s): Past/Present/Future: April 22, 1–4pm, with Mark L. Gardner, Mario Gooden, LOT-EK, Joseph G. Mizzi, Dr. Ikem Stanley Okoye and Mabel O. Wilson

Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
New York City, New York 10012


Between 1957 and 1966, 32 countries—almost two thirds of all African nations—gained their independence from colonial powers. In these budding nations, including Ghana, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia that are featured in this exhibition, technology and development became tools of liberation and instruments for expressing national identity. The daring and ambitious designs of new buildings, from state banks to convention centers and stadiums, mirrored the optimism and aspirations of the newly liberated states.

Presenting over 700 photographs, as well as archival materials, historical photos, newspaper clippings, postcards, videos, plans, and sketches, Architecture of Independence documents the ambivalences of decolonization, its contradictions, and inconsistencies, but also its ambitions, aims, and aspirations.

Curated by Manuel Herz and organized by the Vitra Design Museum, Architecture of Independence includes contemporary photography by renowned photographer Iwan Baan and award-winning South African humanitarian photo-documentarian Alexia Webster.

Center for Architecture
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